Document Type

Honors Paper


Douglas Thompson

Publication Date



Geospatial information systems (GIS) enable easy visualization of geospatial data representing different criteria important for optimal siting of marine energy projects. Multi-Criteria Decision Analysis (MCDA) is a geospatial analysis method that facilitates the evaluation of multiple, usually overlapping, site criteria. While GIS-based MCDA has been used extensively for land-based renewable energy projects, limited research exists on its application to marine-based renewable energy projects. Similarly, most literature overlooks the integration of social or environmental justice data. This project applies GIS-based MCDA to conduct site selection analysis for two marine renewable energy (MRE) projects in Puerto Rico and Hawaii. The results for Puerto Rico indicate that Coastal Structure Integrated Wave Energy Converter (CSI-WEC) projects should be focused primarily along the main island, specifically the northeastern and southern coasts. Similarly, the study in Hawaii demonstrates the feasibility of a hybrid wind-wave-solar project near the islands, particularly off of the northern coasts. The inclusion of social justice data yielded different site selection outcomes compared to analyses considering solely technical and resource criteria, suggesting the importance of incorporating social data into future site selection decisions. Between study sites, variations in the results were observed based on the criteria chosen and their respective weightings. Both studies’ results indicate the suitability of GIS-based MCDA methodologies across diverse locations and MRE technologies.



The views expressed in this paper are solely those of the author.