Environmental impacts of marine renewables

Thursday, 30 January, 2014
The European Commission has selected a consortium DHI to conduct a study on the environmental impacts of noise, vibrations and electromagnetic emissions from marine renewables.

In Europe and beyond, there are ambitious plans to install an increasing number of marine renewable energy devices (MREDs). The construction and operation of MRED’s will lead to the emission of electromagnetic fields, subsea noise and vibrations into the marine environment. Yet the resulting impact on marine life is only partially understood. This information gap poses questions about the effect of the implementation of MRED’s on the marine environment.

This study will address the information gap by means of a large scale investigation including:
• A review of the environmental impacts of marine renewable energy devices;
• In-depth analyses of studies on the environmental impacts of noise, vibrations and electromagnetic emissions covering the entire lifespan of marine renewable energy devices; and
• Analysis of the norms and standards related to noise, vibrations and electromagnetic emissions from marine renewable energy systems.

Based on these analyses, DMI will undertake relevant on-site measurements and field experiments to validate and build upon the results obtained in the above studies. These experiments will be carried out in different locations within the EU in order to characterise the main marine environment typologies in Europe.

This study shall contribute to the preparation of a programme of further R&D with clear and justified priorities: providing a sound review of the available scientific evidence and an assessment of the significance of the short, medium and long-term impacts of marine renewable energy systems on the surrounding environment. The project's results will thus feed directly into future European Commission research objectives, in line with the its Blue Energy Action Plan, which calls for more research and better information on the environmental impacts of marine electricity generation.

In collaboration with Cranfield University (UK), DHI has assembled a high profile team of nine institutions from six EU member states expert in marine sciences and marine noise pollution to carry out this work.

The study commenced in December 2013 and will continue until June 2015.

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