OES-Environmental (the task formerly known as Annex IV) was established by the International Energy Agency (IEA) Ocean Energy Systems (OES) in January 2010 to examine environmental effects of marine renewable energy (MRE) development. The United States leads the OES-Environmental effort, with the US 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). OES-Environmental is implemented by Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), utilizing Tethys as the platform on which OES-Environmental 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. OES-Environmental 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 OES-Environmental Members Page.
Countries Currently Involved in OES-Environmental (15):
- South Africa
- United Kingdom
- United States
Notable OES-Environmental Products
OES-Environmental (the task formerly known as 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, OES-Environmental partners with conferences and hosts workshops to bring researchers together around environmental issues. Whenever possible, products from these activities are made publicly available via Tethys. Below is a list of notable products:
- OES-Environmental Risk Retirement
- OES-Environmental Data Transferability Process
- 2019 OES-Environmental Workshop: Retiring Risk for MRE Projects to Support Permitting, Portland, USA
- 2019 OES-Environmental/ORJIP Workshop: Retiring Risks of MRE Environmental Interactions to Support Consenting/Permitting, Napoli, Italy
- 2019 OES-Environmental Good Management Practices for Social and Economic Data Collection for Marine Renewable Energy
- 2018 Annex IV The State of Knowledge for Environmental Effects: Driving Consenting/Permitting for the Marine Renewable Energy Industry
- 2018 Annex IV/ORJIP Workshop: Data Transferability and Collection Consistency Workshop (ICOE), Cherbourg, France
- 2018 Annex IV/ORJIP Workshop: Case Studies on Social and Economic Effects around MRE Development, Kirkwall, UK
- 2017 Annex IV/ORJIP Workshop: Exploring the State of Understanding and Practice used to Assess Social and Economic Risks and Benefits of Marine Renewable Energy Development, Cork, Ireland
- 2017 Annex IV/ORJIP Workshop: Management Measures Workshop, Glasgow, UK
- 2016 Annex IV Workshop: Pacific Region Marine Renewables Environmental Regulations, Portland, USA
- 2016 Annex IV State of the Science Report
- 2016 Annex IV Workshop: Collision Risk for Marine Mammals and Tidal Turbines, Edinburgh, UK
- 2015 Annex IV Workshop: State of the Science, Nantes, France
- 2014 Annex IV Workshop: Environmental Monitoring, Regulatory Needs & Scientific Capabilities, Wolfville, Canada
- 2014 Annex IV Workshop: Best Practices for Monitoring Environmental Effects of Marine Energy Devices, Stornoway, UK
- 2013 Annex IV Workshop: Instrumentation for Monitoring around Marine Renewable Energy Devices, Seattle, USA,
- 2013 Final Annex IV Phase 1 Report
- 2012 Annex IV Experts Workshop, Dublin, Ireland
- 2010 Annex IV Experts Workshop, Dublin, Ireland
OES-Environmental Short Science Summaries
OES-Environmental 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 available for download, along with a list all available literature in Tethys that corresponds to the interaction. Below is a list of available summaries:
- OES-Environmental Fact Sheet
- Data Transferability
- Social and Economic Data Collection
- Entanglement with Marine Renewable Energy Mooring Lines
- Collision Risk
- Underwater Noise
- Physical Systems
- Electromagnetic Fields
- Benthic Habitats and Reefing Patterns
- Marine Spatial Planning
- Permitting/Consenting Case Studies
- Next Steps in Resolving Risk from MRE Devices
- Tethys Fact Sheet 2018
OES-Environmental 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.
OES-Environmental 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 publicly 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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).
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.
Tethys supports collaborative interactions among researchers, developers, regulators, and stakeholders for responsible development of marine energy. Notably, the Ocean Energy System's OES-Environmental initiative is supported by Tethys. Below is a list of strategic project partners with OES-Environmental:
|US Department of Energy (DOE)||The mission of the Energy Department is to ensure America’s security and prosperity by addressing its energy, environmental and nuclear challenges through transformative science and technology solutions. Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy's Wind Energy Technologies Office and Water Power Technologies Office supports Tethys and views Tethys as one of their major outreach programs. DOE is the operating agent for OES-Environmental.|
|Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM)||BOEM promotes energy independence, environmental protection and economic development through responsible, science-based management of offshore conventional and renewable energy and marine mineral resources. BOEM is a US federal partner in OES-Environmental.|
|National Oceanic and atmospheric Association (NOAA)||NOAA is a scientific agency within the United States Department of Commerce focused on the conditions of the oceans and the atmosphere. They conduct daily weather forecasts, severe storm warnings and climate monitoring to fisheries management, coastal restoration and support marine commerce. NOAA is a US federal partner in OES-Environmental.|
|Environmental Interactions of Marine Renewable Technology (EIMR)||EIMR is a Scottish-based international conference that brings together researchers and professionals to present the latest research results and ideas to the oceanographic, ecological, and societal interactions of wave and tidal-stream energy devices. OES-Environmental partnered with and hosted a workshop in conjunction with EIMR. Audio and slides were recorded for conference sessions and hosted in Tethys.|
|International Network on Offshore Renewable Energy (INORE)||INORE is a network of young researchers within renewable energy, with their main focus on offshore renewables. They bring together researchers from around the world to interact, collaborate, and share knowledge. INORE members use Tethys as a resource and have contributed material to the knowledge base, while Tethys featured a Tethys Story.|
|Natural Environment Research Council (NERC)||Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) is the leading funder of independent research, training, and innovation in environmental science in the United Kingdom. Publicly funded, NERC works closely with policymakers and industry to help sustain and benefit from natural resources, predict and respond to natural hazards, and understand environmental change. NERC is a partner through OES-Environmental.|
|Ocean Energy Systems (OES)||OES is an intergovernmental collaboration between countries, which operates under framework established by the International Energy Agency in Paris. Since the initial launch in 2001, 21 member countries have participated in five annexes. OES-Environmental focuses on the environmental effects of ocean energy and is facilitated by the Tethys platform.|
|Pacific Marine Energy Center (PMEC)||PMEC is an umbrella organization that unifies testing, research & development, and educational programs in marine energy across the University of Washington (lead), Oregon State University, and the University of Alaska Fairbanks.|
|Streamlining of Ocean Wave Farms Impact Assessment (SOWFIA)||Streamlining of Ocean Wave Farms Impact Assessment (SOWFIA) aims to consolidate and share the European experience of consenting processes and environmental and socio-economic impact assessment (IA) best practices for offshore wave energy conversion developments. SOWFIA began in 2010 and was successfully completed at the end of 2013. SOWFIA is a partner of OES-Environmental.|
|Wave and Tidal Knowledge Network (WTKN)||The WTKN facilitates the exchange of data in the emerging wave and tidal energy industry. It contains a large amount of documents focused around the UK, including some environmental publications. WTKN was initiated by NERC and now is stewarded by Catapult. Tethys and WTKN exchanged relevant documents.|
History of OES-Environmental
Below is a summary of each phase in OES-Environmental. A more detailed layout of the purpose and timeline is available here.
Phase 1: 2010-2013
OES-Environmental (the task formerly known as Annex IV) member countries collaborated to create a searchable, publicly 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
OES-Environmental (the task formerly known as 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):
- New Zealand
- South Africa
- United Kingdom
- United States
Phase 3: 2016-2020
OES-Environmental 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 on data transferability and retiring risk and address socio-economic issues. The phase will again culminate with a large report and conference partnerships.
Partner Nations (15):
- South Africa
- United Kingdom
- United States
Other Tasks by OES
There are multiple tasks carried out by OES. The complete list can be found here.
Any questions related to OES-Environmental can be directed to the following individuals, who are leading the initiative: