Tethys is now officially hosting WREN. Look forward to new content, webinars, and more related to offshore and land-based wind.
WREN is hosting a webinar on December 9 2014 about animal attraction to offshore wind. Learn more here.
Annex IV will partner with EWTEC 2015 - to be held in Nantes France, September 6-11, 2015 - and will host a new environmental track.
An Annex IV Environmental Webinar was held on October 27, 2014 for Tidal Energy Research in the Bay of Fundy. View a video recording here.
Are you new to Tethys? Check out the Tips for Tethys page to get started.
Tethys Blasts are bi-weekly newsletters alerting you to recent news and new information available on Tethys. Sign up now!
The Annex IV program is planning a state of the science report for 2016. Stay tuned for more details.

Welcome to Tethys

Environmental Effects of Renewable Energy from the Sea

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As industry, academia, and government seek to develop new renewable energy sources from tides, waves, and offshore wind, potential environmental effects must be evaluated and measured to ensure that aquatic and avian animals, habitats, and ecosystem functions are not adversely affected, nor that important coastal and ocean uses are displaced.

Tethys is a knowledge management system that gathers, organizes, and provides access to information on the environmental effects of marine and hydrokinetic (MHK) and offshore wind energy development. This information is made available by collaboration at local, national, and international levels. Tethys, named after the mythical Greek titaness of the seas, supports programs at the U.S. Department of Energy's Wind and Water Power Technologies Office.

Tethys also supports a growing community of MHK and offshore wind researchers, regulators, and developers through outreach and communication channels including the Tethys blog, links to pertinent research institutions, other databases with similar missions, and broadcasts of presentations, webinars, seminars, and symposia relating to the environmental effects of marine energy and offshore wind. As the Tethys community expands and more users create accounts, each user’s personal interests and areas of expertise may be catalogued upon request to facilitate more communication amongst Tethys community members.

Welcome to Tethys!

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Marine and Hydrokinetic (MHK) or marine energy development in U.S. and international waters includes projects using the following devices:

Common environmental concerns associated with marine energy developments include:

  • The risk of marine mammals and fish being struck by tidal turbine blades;
  • The effects of EMF and underwater noise emitted from operating marine energy devices;
  • The physical presence of marine energy projects and their potential to alter the behavior of marine mammals, fish, and seabirds with attraction or avoidance;
  • The potential effect on nearfield and farfield marine environment and processes such as sediment transport and water quality.

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Tethys is also a clearinghouse for information and metadata associated with the Annex IV project, an international collaborative project among member nations of the International Energy Association’s Ocean Energy Systems (OES). The goal of Annex IV is to examine the environmental effects of marine energy devices and environmental research studies from around the world and disseminate information to marine energy researchers, regulators, developers, and stakeholders.

The 13 OES member nations involved in Annex IV are highlighted on the map above.

Led by the U.S. Department of Energy, the Annex IV project concluded its first phase in 2013 with a Final Annex IV Report that uses the best available science and information to examine three case studies of specific interactions of marine energy devices with the marine environment.  The Annex IV project has also developed a widespread community of international experts focused on aggregating and disseminating information related to the potential environmental effects of marine energy developments.

For more information on Annex IV, please visit the About Annex IV page.

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Significant generation of offshore wind energy already contributes to electricity needs in Europe and Asia and now the first offshore wind farms are under development in U.S. waters. While the offshore wind industry has grown dramatically over the last several decades, especially in Europe, there is still a great deal of uncertainty associated with how the construction and operation of these wind farms affect marine animals and the marine environment.

Traditional offshore wind turbines are attached to the seabed in shallower waters within the nearshore marine environment. As offshore wind technologies become more  advanced, floating structures have begun to be used in deeper waters where more wind resources exist.

Common environmental concerns associated with offshore wind developments are:

  • The risk of seabirds being struck by wind turbine blades or being displaced from critical habitats;
  • The underwater noise associated with the installation process of monopile turbines;
  • The physical presence of offshore wind farms altering the behavior of marine mammals, fish, and seabirds with attraction or avoidance;
  • The potential disruption of the nearfield and farfield marine environment  from large offshore wind projects.

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WREN HUB supports the dissemination of information on environmental effects of wind development. WREN Hub is facilitated by the Tethys platform and has been created to support the work of IEA Wind Task 34, made up of 6 nations involved in the development of land-based and/or offshore wind.

WREN will become an international forum for the exchange and dissemination of current knowledge on scientific research results, as well as methods for assessing, monitoring, and mitigating the environmental effects of wind energy development on habitats and the wildlife they support.

For more information on WREN, please visit the About WREN page.

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