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[en] An experts workshop was convened in Dublin Ireland September 27th-28th 2010 in support of IEA Ocean Energy Systems Implementing Agreement Annex IV. PNNL was responsible for organizing the content of the workshop, overseeing the contractors (Irish Marine Institute) hosting the event, presenting material on Annex IV and materials applicable to the workshop intent. PNNL is also overseeing a contractor (Wave Energy Center/University of Plymouth - WEC/UP) in the collection and analysis of the Annex IV data. Fifty-eight experts from 8 countries attended the workshop by invitation, spending two days discussing the needs of Annex IV. Presentations by DOE (background on Annex IV), PNNL (process for developing Annex IV; presentation of the draft database for PNNL project, plans for incorporating Annex IV data), WEC/UP on the environmental effect matrix, and four MHK developers (two from the UK, one from Ireland and one from Sweden; each discussing their own projects and lessons learned for measuring and mitigating environmental effects, as well as interactions with consenting (permitting) processes) helped provide background. The workshop participants worked part of the time in the large group and most of the time in four smaller breakout groups. Participants engaged in the process and provided a wealth of examples of MHK environmental work, particularly in the European nations. They provided practical and actionable advice on the following: (1) Developing the Annex IV database, with specific uses and audiences; (2) Strong consensus that we should collect detailed metadata on available data sets, rather than attempting to draw in copious datasets. The participants felt there would then be an opportunity to then ask for specific set of data as needed, with specific uses and ownership of the data specified. This is particularly important as many data collected, particularly in Europe but also in Canada, are proprietary; developers were not comfortable with the idea of handing over all their environmental effects data, but all said they would entertain the request if they specifics were clear. (3) The recommendation was to collect metadata via an online interactive form, taking no more than one hour to complete. (4) Although the idea of cases representing the 'best practices' was recognized as useful, the participants pointed out that there are currently so few MHK projects in the water, that any and all projects were appropriate to highlight as 'cases'. There was also discomfort at the implication that 'best practices' implied 'lesser practices'; this being unhelpful to a new and emerging industry. (5) Workshop participants were asked if they were willing to continue to engage in the Annex IV process; all expressed willingness. The workshop was successful in adequately addressing its objectives and through participation and interaction in the breakout sessions around the various topics. As a result of the workshop, many delegates are now better informed and have a greater understanding of the potential environmental effects of MHK devices on the marine environment. There is now a greater sense of understanding of the issues involved and consensus by those regulators, developers and scientists who attended the workshop. A strong network has also been built over the two days between European and US/Canadian technical experts in wave and tidal energy.
[en] The U.S. Department of Energy (US DOE) has mobilized its National Laboratories to address the broad range of environmental effects of ocean and river energy development. The National Laboratories are using a risk-based approach to set priorities among environmental effects, and to direct research activities. Case studies will be constructed to determine the most significant environmental effects of ocean energy harvest for tidal systems in temperate estuaries, for wave energy installations in temperate coastal areas, wave installations in sub-tropical waters, and riverine energy installations in large rivers. In addition, the National Laboratories are investigating the effects of energy removal from waves, tides and river currents using numerical modeling studies. Laboratory and field research is also underway to understand the effects of electromagnetic fields (EMF), acoustic noise, toxicity from anti-biofouling coatings, effects on benthic habitats, and physical interactions with tidal and wave devices on marine and freshwater organisms and ecosystems. Outreach and interactions with stakeholders allow the National Laboratories to understand and mitigate for use conflicts and to provide useful information for marine spatial planning at the national and regional level.
[en] In this report we describe the development of the Environmental Risk Evaluation System (ERES), a risk-informed analytical process for estimating the environmental risks associated with the construction and operation of offshore wind energy generation projects. The development of ERES for offshore wind is closely allied to a concurrent process undertaken to examine environmental effects of marine and hydrokinetic (MHK) energy generation, although specific risk-relevant attributes will differ between the MHK and offshore wind domains. During FY10, a conceptual design of ERES for offshore wind will be developed. The offshore wind ERES mockup described in this report will provide a preview of the functionality of a fully developed risk evaluation system that will use risk assessment techniques to determine priority stressors on aquatic organisms and environments from specific technology aspects, identify key uncertainties underlying high-risk issues, compile a wide-range of data types in an innovative and flexible data organizing scheme, and inform planning and decision processes with a transparent and technically robust decision-support tool. A fully functional version of ERES for offshore wind will be developed in a subsequent phase of the project.
[en] Highlights: • Strike risk is reduced by slower rotational blade speeds of tidal turbines. • Harbor seals predominately swam at surface and seafloor layers in this tidal region. • Harbor seals were 68% less likely to occupy habitat within 200 m of turbine. • Perceived risk is reduced by 90.3% using empirical data of dive and surface locations. - Abstract: There is global interest in marine renewable energy from underwater tidal turbines. Due to overlap in animal habitat with locations for tidal turbines, the potential for collisions has led to concern around strike risk. Using data from tagged harbor seals collected before construction and after operation of the SeaGen tidal turbine in Northern Ireland, this study quantifies risks of an operational turbine to harbor seals by taking into account turbine characteristics, tidal state, and seal behavior. We found 68% spatial avoidance (95% C.I., 37%, 83%) by harbor seals within 200 m of the turbine. When additionally accounting for variation in seal occupancy over depth and tidal flows, there is an overall reduction in collision risk from 1.29 to 0.125 seals per tidal cycle (90.3% reduction; (95% C.I., 83%, 98%)) compared to risk calculated under assumptions of uniform habitat use. This demonstrates the need to incorporate environmental conditions to properly assess strike risk.