About Annex IV

Highlight: View the 2016 State of the Science Report


Annex IV was established by the IEA Ocean Energy Systems (OES) in January 2010 to examine environmental effects of marine renewable energy (MRE) development. The United States leads the Annex IV effort, with the Department of Energy (DOE) as the Operating Agent, partnered with the US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) and the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Annex IV is implemented by Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), utilizing Tethys as the platform on which Annex IV activities are coordinated and recorded.


The MRE industry is relatively new and has faced regulatory challenges associated with potential environmental impacts that are not well understood. Annex IV is mobilizing information and practitioners from OES nations to coordinate research that can progress the industry in an environmentally responsible manner. A key component of this effort involves making existing information available and accessible.


To access the member-only collaborative space, visit the Annex IV Members Page.


Countries Currently Involved in Annex IV (12)


Notable Annex IV Products

Annex IV provides a unique perspective of MRE and the environment on the global scale, which is compiled into a collaborative report after every 3-4 years. Additionally, Annex IV partners with conferences and hosts workshops to bring researchers together around environmental issues. Whenever possible, products from these activities are made publically available via Tethys. Below is a list of notable products:


Annex IV Metadata

Annex IV has designed metadata forms (questionnaires) that solicit information from project developers and researchers that are involved in environmental monitoring and/or studies. These forms capture many of the activities around the world that are exploring the potential environmental impacts of MRE devices, and often provide links to associated reports. Collected information on project sites and research studies have been made publically available on Tethys via the Knowledge Base and Map Viewer. Updates are requested for ongoing work on an annual basis to ensure that information is reliable and accurate.


If you are interested in submitting a metadata form, please fill out one of the following forms and send it to jonathan.whiting@pnnl.gov.


Annex IV Webinars

Annex IV hosts quarterly webinars on the environmental concerns that are of importance to the MRE industry, as a means to effectively disseminate new information and research efforts to a large international audience of stakeholders. You can sign up to receive invitations to live webinars here.


Past marine renewable energy webinars are hosted on Tethys, along with the associated video and presentations as available. Visit the archive.


Annex IV Short Science Summaries

Annex IV has created brief short science summaries that synthesize scientific understanding about a specific environmental interaction. The summaries are updated on a 1-2 year basis to reflect new findings and understandings. Each summary is availble for download, along with a list all available literature in Tethys that corresponds to the interaction. Below is a list of available summaries:


Knowledge Base and Map Viewer

Tethys has collected over 1200 documents related to the environmental effects of MRE devices: wave, tidal, in-stream, ocean current, and ocean thermal energy conversion. All documents are available in a table format via the Tethys Knowledge Base and any documents related to a spatial location have also been geotagged and made available on the Tethys Map Viewer (note: this is a subset of the documents available in the Knowledge Base).



Regulatory Frameworks

A high-level summary of country-specific requirements for environmental permitting (consenting) of MRE devices (specifically wave and tidal) was collected for members of the Ocean Energy Systems. This information is intended for general purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion. It does not represent a complete record of the regulatory requirements for a given country, nor is it correct to assume that all the authorizations necessarily apply to all marine renewable projects. Access this information here.



History of Annex IV

Below is a summary of each phase in Annex IV. A more detailed layout of the purpose and timeline is available here.


Phase 1: 2010-2013

Annex IV member countries collaborated to create a searchable, publically available database of research and monitoring information to evaluate environmental effects. The database, housed in the Tethys Knowledge Base, includes data from MRE projects, research studies and case study reports. Two international scientific workshops were held to provide input for the database and to inform the 2013 Final Annex IV Report.


Partner Nations (6):


Phase 2: 2013-2016

Annex IV was continued for a second phase, continuing the collection, analysis, and dissemination of information on environmental effects of MRE development. During Phase 2, additional emphasis was placed on creating a collaborative space or commons for interaction among researchers, developers, regulators, and stakeholders. Phase 2 culminated with the preparation of the State of the Science Report, and partnership with the EWTEC 2015 international conference.


Partner Nations (13):


Phase 3: 2016-2020

Annex IV has been approved for a 4-year extension consisting of three interrelated tracks: (1) information gathering and analysis, (2) information dissemination, and (3) engaging the community to support research and monitoring needs. This phase will continue most ongoing activities, while expanding to engage the regulatory community and address socio-economic issues. The phase will again culminate with a large report and conference partnerships.


Partner Nations (12):



List of Other Tasks by OES

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