About OES-Environmental


OES-Environmental Logo



OES-Environmental (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 U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) leads the tasks for the United States, partnered with the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) and the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). OES-Environmental is implemented by Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) and acts as the Operating Agent. Tethys acts as the platform on which OES-Environmental activities are coordinated and recorded.

MRE is an emerging industry that faces regulatory challenges associated with potential environmental impacts, around which there is a high degree of uncertainty. OES-Environmental mobilizes 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.

View the OES-Environmental Fact Sheet.

Countries Currently Involved in OES-Environmental (15):

Australia FlagCanada FlagChina FlagDenmark FlagFrance FlagIndia FlagIreland FlagJapan FlagNorway FlagPortugal FlagSouth Africa FlagSpain FlagSweden FlagUnited Kingdom FlagUnited States Flag


Notable OES-Environmental Products

OES-Environmental (formerly known as Annex IV) synthesizes information and scientific research on a global scale about MRE and the environment into collaborative reports and documents. Additionally, OES-Environmental hosts workshops and webinars to bring researchers together around environmental effects research and supports environmental effects tracks at international conferences. Many of these products can be found under the Broadcasts tab.

Click on the images below to view some recent notable publications.

OES-Environmental 2020 State of the ScienceGood Management Practices for Social and Economic Data Collection for Marine Renewable EnergyThe State of Knowledge for Environmental Effects: Driving Consenting/Permitting for the Marine Renewable Energy IndustryAnnex IV 2016 State of the Science

Click on the figures below to find more information about Data Transferability and Risk Retirement:

Data Transferability Framework FigureRisk Retirement Pathway

OES-Environmental Short Science Summaries

OES-Environmental develops short science summaries that synthesize scientific understanding about a specific environmental interaction or management topic. The summaries are updated on a 1-2 year basis to reflect new findings and understanding. 

Click the cover of a summary to view, download, or review relevant literature on that topic.

Benefits and Effects SSSCollision Risk SSSUnderwater Noise SSSElectromagnetic Fields SSSChanges in Habitat SSSChanges in Oceanographic Systems SSSEntanglement SSSSocial and Economic Data SSSEnvironmental MonitoringMarine Spatial Planning SSSAdaptive Management SSSRisk Retirement and Data Transferability SSSPath Forward SSS

OES-Environmental Webinars and Workshops

OES-Environmental hosts webinars featuring international experts on environmental effects of importance to the MRE industry as a means to effectively disseminate new information and research efforts across a large international stakeholder audience. You can sign up to receive invitations to live webinars here. Past webinars are archived on Tethys, along with the associated video and presentations as available, and can be found here.

OES-Environmental organizes workshops, often in conjunction with conferences, focused on specific aspects of environmental effects of MRE. Recordings, presentations, reports, and descriptions from these workshops can be found here.

OES-Environmental Metadata

OES-Environmental hosts metadata forms (questionnaires) that solicit information from project developers and researchers  involved in deploying and monitoring MRE devices and/or carrying out pertinent research. These forms capture activities that explore the potential environmental impacts of MRE devices around the world, and often provide links to associated reports and papers. This information on project sites and research studies is made publicly available on the OES-Environmental Metadata page.

OES-Environmental requests updates to these forms on an annual basis to ensure that the 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 cailene.gunn@pnnl.gov.

Tools and Resources

OES-Environmental has developed the following tools to provide information that may be useful for addressing many activities around environmental consenting/permitting. All are hosted on Tethys:

  • Regulatory Frameworks: A high-level summary of country-specific requirements for environmental consenting/permitting of MRE devices (specifically wave and tidal) was collected for member countries of OES. This information is intended for general informative purposes only.
  • Data Portal: This list includes references to environmental post-installation monitoring datasets conducted around marine renewable energy device deployments. The data may be accessible at an external website or from a listed point of contact. 
  • Management Measures Tool: This tool was designed based on input from researchers, regulators, and developers at a workshop organized by OES-Environmental held May 9th 2017 in Glasgow UK. The tool provides recommendations for a set of robust management measures might act as safeguards for marine animals and habitats until such time as definitive monitoring data become available to determine the level of risk from turbines and WECs.
  • Monitoring Datasets Discoverability Matrix: This tool, the matrix, classifies monitoring datasets from already consented projects for six stressors (collision, underwater noise, electromagnetic fields, habitat change, displacement/barrier effects, changes to physical systems). The matrix will allow regulators and/or developers to discover datasets and evaluate the consistency of information from an already consented project that will allow for the transfer of data to future projects. 

OES-Environmental Partners

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.

A partial list of strategic project partners is found in the table below. Click on the logo to be directed to each partner's external webpage.

Partner Description
Aquatera Logo

Aquatera Ltd. partnered with PNNL to implement Phase 2 of OES-Environmental and remains a committed partner on a contract basis for much of the ongoing work on wave and tidal energy.

BOEM logo

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 U.S. federal partner in OES-Environmental.

DOE logo

The mission of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) 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.

EIMR logo Environmental Interactions of Marine Renewable Technology (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.
INORE logo 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.
NERC logo The 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.
NOAA logo 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.
OES logo Ocean Energy Systems (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.
ORJIP Logo ORJIP Ocean Energy is a UK-wide collaborative program of environmental research with the aim of reducing consenting risks for wave and tidal projects.
PMEC logo Pacific Marine Energy Center (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.
POET Logo Pacific Ocean Energy Trust (POET) has been a partner with OES-Environmental in organizing conferences, workshops, and webinars around the environmental effects of marine energy. In particular, the Ocean Renewable Energy Conference (OREC) was used for several workshops on retiring risk. 
SOWFIA logo 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.
WTKN logo The Wave and Tidal Knowledge Network (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

OES-Environmental began in 2010 and has progressed through three phases, as summarized below.  A more detailed layout of the phases 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):

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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 2016 State of the Science Report, and partnership with the EWTEC 2015 international conference.

Partner Nations (13):

Canada FlagChina FlagIreland FlagJapan FlagNew Zealand FlagNigeria FlagNorway FlagPortugal Flag South Africa FlagSpain FlagSweden FlagUnited Kingdom FlagUnited States Flag


Phase 3: 2016-2020

OES-Environmental was 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. Phase 3 culminated with the completion of the 2020 State of the Science Report.

Partner Nations (15):

Australia FlagCanada FlagChina FlagDenmark FlagFrance FlagIndia FlagIreland FlagJapan FlagNorway FlagPortugal FlagSouth Africa FlagSpain FlagSweden FlagUnited Kingdom FlagUnited States Flag


Phase 4: 2020-2024

Approval for Phase 4 is pending. 

Other OES Tasks 

Ocean Energy Systems (OES) is the short name for the Technology Collaboration Programme on Ocean Energy Systems, an intergovernmental collaboration between countries, founded in 2001, which operates under a framework established by the International Energy Agency (IEA) in Paris.

Established in 1974, the International Energy Agency (IEA) carries out a comprehensive programme of energy co-operation for its 29 member countries and beyond by examining the full spectrum of energy issues and advocating policies that will enhance energy security, economic development, environmental awareness and engagement worldwide.

There are multiple tasks carried out under OES. The complete list can be found here.

Contact Information

Any questions related to OES-Environmental can be directed to the following individuals, who are leading the initiative: