Marine Renewable Energy Development: The act of harnessing naturally occurring renewable energy in the ocean to generate electricity.

  • Marine Energy general - Generic term that applies to all forms of renewable energy captured from the marine environment, excluding offshore wind.
  • Ocean Current Energy - Capturing oceanic currents with turbines.
  • Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion - Utilizing temperature gradients in deep oceans to generate electricity.
  • Riverine Energy - The flow of the river is captured with either dams or independent turbines.
  • Salinity Gradient - Utilizing salinity gradients where freshwater rivers meet seawater to generate electricity.
  • Tidal Energy - Capturing tidal fluctuations with turbines, tidal barrages, or tidal lagoons.
  • Wave Energy - Capturing energy from waves with a point absorber buoy, surface attenuator, oscillating water column, or overtopping device.

Wind Energy Development: The act of harnessing naturally occuring wind energy in the atmosphere to generate electricity.

Stressors: Potential characteristics of renewable energy devices that can affect animals, habitats or ecosystem processes. (What are stressors?)

  • Chemicals - An acute spill or chronic release of chemicals over time.
  • Dynamic Device - Any part of the device that moves.
  • EMF - An electromagnetic field created by electricity moving through cables.
  • Energy Removal - Removal of energy from the physical system.
  • Lighting - Light added for navigational purposes may attract or disorient organisms.
  • Noise - Sounds created during construction and operation of device.
  • Static Device - Any part of the device that does not move significantly.

Receptors: Organisms, habitats or ecosystem processes that may be affected by the presence or operation of renewable energy devices. (What are receptors?)

  • Bats - Certain bat species have been known to migrate great distances offshore, at risk of collision with the device.
  • Benthic Invertebrates - A broad term that encompasses cephalopods (squid, octopus), crustaceans (craps, shrimp), mollusks (clams, barnacles), and various other benthic organisms.
  • Birds - Generic term that applies to all types of birds.
    • Ground-Nesting Birds - Birds that nest and reside mostly on the ground, including quail, pheasants, and prairie chickens.
    • Passerines - The most common type of bird, known for perching.
    • Raptors - Birds of prey that hunt and feed on small animals.
    • Seabirds - Seabirds are birds that have adapted to life within the marine environment.
    • Shorebirds - Shorebirds are birds commonly found along sandy or rocky shorelines, mudflats, and shallow waters.
    • Waterfowl - Birds with webbed feet for quatic environments, including ducks, geese, and swans.
  • Ecosystem - The balance within a community of organisms and their environment (food chain).
  • Farfield Environment - The large-scale effects of a device beyond those affecting the direct site.
  • Fish - Resident fish living near the device and migratory fish passing through the area.
  • Marine Mammals - A broad term that encompasses pinnipeds (seals, sea lions), cetaceans (dolphins, whales), and sea otters.
  • Nearfield Habitat - The physical environment surrounding a device.
  • Sea Turtles - Sea turtles commonly utilize sea currents and travel great distances.
  • Socio-economics - The effects on the local society and economy.
    • Aesthetics - Altering the existing landscape or seascape.
    • Climate Change - How renewable energy affects climate change caused by anthropogenic activities.
    • Fishing - Commercial fishing is an established industry in the marine environment.
    • Legal and Policy - How governing bodies handle renewable energy projects through policy and legal frameworks.
    • Navigation - Vessels moving in proximity to a renewable energy project.
    • Recreation - People enjoying activities in proximity to a renewable energy project.
    • Stakeholder Engagement - People and companies with an interest in a renewable energy project.
  • Terrestrial Mammals - A broad term that encompasses carnivores (wolves, bears) and ungulates (deer, moose).

Interactions: Details of the relationship between stressors and receptors.

  • Attraction - Animals can be drawn to devices for increased food, curiosity, or new habitat.
  • Avoidance - Animals may temporarily or permanently avoid an area where devices are present.
  • Changes in Sediment Transport - Altering ocean sediment transport and distribution by changing the flow.
  • Changes in Water Quality - Altering water constituents such as temperature, salinity, nutrients, and contaminents.
  • Collision/Evasion - Reaction by animals approaching a turbine to evade or collide with a blade.
  • Entrapment - Large marine animals feeling trapped by mooring lines, anchors, and export cables.




AIS: Automatic Identification System

BOEM: Bureau of Ocean Energy Management

DOE: United States Department of Energy

EA: Environmental Assessment

EIS: Environmental Impact Statement

EMF: Electromagnetic Field

ERES: Environmental Risk Evaluation System

FAD: Fish Aggregating Device

GIS: Geographic Information Service

HRA: Habitats Regulations Assessment

IEA: International Energy Agency

kW: Kilowatt

LCOE: Levelized Cost of Energy

MHK: Marine and Hydrokinetic

MRE: Marine Renewable Energy

MW: Megawatt

NOAA: National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration

OES: Ocean Energy Systems

ORE: Ocean Renewable Energy

OSW: Offshore Wind

OTEC: Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion

OWC: Oscillating Water Column

PNNL: Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

S-R: Stressor-Receptor

SEA: Strategic Environmental Assessment

SPA: Special Protection Area

T&E: Threatened and Endangered Species

WEC: Wave Energy Converter

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