OCEAN RESOURCES, or the so-called “blue economy,” can help drive investment and innovation with the generation of renewable energy (RE), but are largely untapped, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) said.
“Within the mix of blue economy developments that aim to utilize, protect, and regenerate ocean resources, marine RE has an important and crosscutting role,” it said in a report.
The ADB said oceans account for 90% of global trade and are a “largely untapped resource that contain enough energy to power and fuel our civilization, fight climate change, and continue to house and protect marine ecosystems.”
“However, our marine spaces and the ecosystems, economies, and livelihoods that depend on them are undergoing rapidly increasing pressure,” it added.
The bank cited stressors such as climate change, marine pollution, unregulated fishing, poor coastal development and rising sea levels.
It called for “ocean policies that foster economic growth while at the same time regenerating ocean health in a manner that is consistent with social equity and inclusion.”
“A truly holistic blue economy approach will enable governments to deliver long-term socioeconomic benefits through sensitive marine stewardship, which will include targeted investment in regenerative ocean resources,” it added.
The marine renewable energy, particularly wave energy, holds great potential, the bank said.
“Estimates suggest that the global annual potential of wave energy could meet global energy demand. Tidal energy alone has the potential to power over 20 million American homes,” the ADB said.
Proper planning and development of marine renewable energy can support multiple industries, such as ecotourism, aquaculture, and seawater mineral extraction.
“Fish makes up more than 50% of the animal protein consumed in the Philippines; hence, aquaculture plays an important role in supplying the most basic nutrition a population that nevertheless experiences substantial involuntary hunger from time to time — and this before the shock of COVID-19 and the recent global cost-of-living crisis,” the ADB added.
The ADB also sees potential in marine green hydrogen, which can be harnessed by smaller coastal and island states.
Marine green hydrogen is a “portable energy storage solution (that) could allow ocean states to utilize their significant coastal and marine areas not only to meet local energy demand, but also to convert excess marine renewable energy to exportable hydrogen.”
“This promising market model, which did not exist before, could unlock the financing required to speed up adoption of these technologies and secure a key regenerative cornerstone of many nations’ blue economies,” it added. — Luisa Maria Jacinta C. Jocson