Annex IV: Purpose and Timeline

The primary objective of Annex IV is to increase our understanding of the environmental effects of ocean wave, tidal, and current energy development on the marine environment. The Annex aims to facilitate efficient government oversight of the development of ocean energy systems by expanding our baseline knowledge of environmental effects and monitoring methods. One of the primary goals of the Annex is to ensure that existing information and data on environmental monitoring (and, to the extent possible, practices for environmental mitigation) are more widely accessible to those in the industry; national, state, and regional governments; and the public. The Annex facilitates knowledge and information transfer through Tethys, a publicly accessible database of information. Annex IV has existed since 2010, spanning three phases of work.

 

 

Phase 1 Work Plan

Year 1 (May 2010 - May 2011) 

Identified potential environmental effects of ocean wave, tidal, and current energy systems; compiled existing monitoring information and identified high priority information gaps; designed and developed a smart and searchable database; and began to enter data.

 

Specific tasks included:

  • Identified and reviewed valuable existing syntheses addressing ocean wave, tidal, or current energy systems;
  • Based on existing syntheses, assembled a master list of potential environmental effects, related monitoring methods, and (when possible) mitigation strategies;
  • Designed and developed the Annex IV database and began inputting data on environmental effects, monitoring methods, and (when possible) mitigation strategies; and
  • Identified and prioritized crucial information gaps related to monitoring methods and environmental impacts, and selected higher priority gaps for further evaluation using analogous technologies.

 

Year 2 (May 2011 - May 2012)

Developed a standard data format; identified, selected, and compiled into the database case study information; and researched analogous technologies (analogues) for additional information. In an effort to better understand the current state of ocean energy systems and associated environmental challenges, existing projects conducting environmental monitoring studies were identified, selected, and reviewed by participating countries. These environmental case study reports provided detail the specific methods and findings of each project with particular emphasis on identifying potential environmental impacts, environmental monitoring methodologies, and mitigation efforts. Cooperation from project developers was a critical component in this task in order to obtain the information necessary to carry out the proper analysis. The Annex Participants worked closely with identified project managers or developers and only requested information needed to complete the case studies analysis. An experts’ workshop was held to bring together experts from Annex IV nations and other countries to hone the data collection process and analysis.

 

Specific tasks included:

  • Developed a standard format for reporting case study information, which included the following fields: type and location of project, device monitored, generating capacity, power source, water depth, special environmental issue of concern, planned duration of monitoring efforts, frequency and timing of monitoring, measurement strategy and technology, estimated project cost, monitoring cost and funding source, relevant findings, and strengths and weaknesses of monitoring approaches and mitigation efforts.
  • Identified projects where ocean wave, tidal, or current energy devices are operational and for which environmental monitoring was undertaken or planned.
  • Compiled metadata and other information to support database hosting and analysis.
  • For priority information gaps, participating nations selected analogue monitoring and mitigation methods that were used to help evaluate the environmental effects of ocean wave, tidal, and current energy systems (e.g., from wind, aquaculture, ocean thermal energy technology, electric or telecommunications sub-sea cables, etc.).
  • Entered case study and analogue information into the database and distributed for review by all Annex participants.
  • Organized and hosted experts’ workshop bringing together over 50 experts from 8 nations to help steer and support the Annex.

 

Year 3 (May 2012 - May 2013)

Final analysis of all information and case studies; completion of preliminary, draft, and final reports; experts workshop; distribution of final report and database on internet website. The Annex IV report compiled information and analyses from Years 1-3. The Final Annex Report was completed at the end of Year 3. A second experts’ workshop was held to review the progress of the Annex and provide input on potential future activities under an extended Annex. Comments from Annex participants and workshop participants were incorporated into the final database and report products.

 

Specific tasks included:

  • Analyzed the synthesis data, case study data, and analogue information and prepared a preliminary report for initial review including a summary of the database information and any lessons learned and best practices for monitoring and mitigating environmental effects of ocean wave, current, and tidal energy devices.
  • Solicited comments on the preliminary report and held an experts’ workshop (including participating nations and other experts) to discuss the preliminary findings.
  • Incorporated workshop and written comments into a draft report and distribute the draft report for review by participating nations.
  • Finalized the Annex IV Report.
  • Posted final report and database to the internet, and linked the final Annex IV database to other ocean energy databases.

 

Final Annex IV Report and Database

The Tethys database is a multimedia database that houses environmental research and monitoring information for ocean energy and offshore wind projects, as well as an interactive map. The Final Annex IV report provides an overview of the Annex and contains three case studies of specific interactions of marine energy devices with the marine environment that gather, survey, and analyze the best available information in one location. These case studies address: 1) the physical interactions between animals and tidal turbines; 2) the acoustic impact of marine energy devices on marine animals; and 3) the effects of energy removal on physical systems. Each case study contains a description of environmental monitoring efforts and research studies, lessons learned, and analysis of remaining information gaps. Much of the Annex IV information and metadata were collected through project site and research study metadata forms, which were widely distributed to the representatives of the member nations, members of the OES Executive Committee, marine energy developers, and researchers. These Annex IV metadata forms, including all other information collected through the Annex IV effort and referenced in this report, can be accessed from the Tethys knowledge base.

 

If you would like to contribute to the Annex IV effort by submitting a project site or research study metadata form, please visit the About Annex IV page on Tethys.

 

 

Phase 2 Work Plan

Year 1 (May 2013 - May 2014)

Update and review of the Tethys database; form strategic partnerships with organizations engaged in the collection and analysis of environmental monitoring information from ocean energy systems; develop an online forum on ocean energy environmental research; host quarterly webinars to share information on international research efforts.

 

Specific tasks included:

  • Update the Tethys database by leveraging the expertise of an analyst identified by each participating nation;
  • Formal review of Tethys database by external experts identified by member nations;
  • Form strategic partnerships in order to host a scientific conference at the end of year 3;
  • Develop an online forum through various social tools on Tethys; and
  • Host quarterly webinars on research efforts and marine energy project monitoring studies.

 

Year 2 (May 2014 - May 2015)

Update and review of the Tethys database;  continue to foster strategic partnerships with organizations engaged in the collection and analysis of environmental monitoring information from ocean energy systems;  further grow an  online forum on ocean energy environmental research; host quarterly webinar;  plan scientific conference;  form a state-of-the-science working group.

 

Specific tasks included:

  • Update the Tethys database by leveraging the expertise of an analyst identified by each participating nation;
  • Second formal review of Tethys database by external experts identified by member nations;
  • Continue to foster strategic partnerships with groups with relevant missions;
  • Enhance the online forum to further engage the Tethys community;
  • Host quarterly webinars on research efforts and marine energy project monitoring studies;
  • Plan scientific conference or conference track on environmental effects of ocean energy systems; and
  • Initiate a state-of-the-science working group that will shape, write, and review a document summarizing the current scientific understanding on ocean energy environmental effects.

 

Year 3 (May 2015 - May 2016)

Update and review of the Tethys database; continue to foster strategic partnerships with organizations engaged in the collection and analysis of environmental monitoring information from ocean energy systems; further grow an online forum on ocean energy environmental research; host quarterly webinars; hold a scientific conference; complete the state-of-the-science report.

 

Specific tasks included:

  • Update the Tethys database by leveraging the expertise of an analyst identified by each participating nation;
  • Third formal review of Tethys database by external experts identified by member nations;
  • Continue to foster strategic partnerships with groups with relevant missions;
  • Enhance the online forum to further engage the Tethys community;
  • Host quarterly webinars on research efforts and marine energy project monitoring studies;
  • Host a scientific conference or conference track at a major scientific or industry conference; and
  • Complete state-of-the-science report.

 

 

Phase 3 Work Plan

Year 1 (May 2016 - May 2017)

Continue to update and review the Tethys database including the ongoing development of tools and filters to increase accessibility of the content; expand the formation of strategic partnerships with organizations and international networks engaged in the collection and analysis of environmental monitoring information from ocean energy systems; continue to expand the online forum for marine renewable energy environmental research; host quarterly webinars and expert forums to share information on international research efforts.

 

Specific tasks included:

  • Update the Tethys database by leveraging the expertise of an analyst identified by each participating nation;
  • Fourth formal review of Tethys database by external experts identified by member nations;
  • Expand the online forum by providing tools and activities;
  • Accelerate access to scientific findings to promote advancement of the industry;
  • Host quarterly webinars on research efforts and marine energy project monitoring studies;
  • Expand strategic partnerships to groups with relevant missions;
  • Engage the regulatory and research community to enable effective licensing and inform research gaps; and
  • Plan for involvement in an international conference in Year 2.

 

Year 2 (May 2017 - May 2018)

Continue to update and review the Tethys database including the ongoing development of tools and filters to increase accessibility of the content; continue to foster strategic partnerships with organizations and networks engaged in the collection and analysis of environmental monitoring information from ocean energy systems; further grow an online forum for ocean energy environmental research; host quarterly webinars; organize and sponsor an international workshop to address key research questions; potentially partner with an international conference to enhance the environmental focus.

 

Specific tasks included:

  • Update the Tethys database by leveraging the expertise of an analyst identified by each participating nation;
  • Fifth formal review of Tethys database by external experts identified by member nations;
  • Expand the online forum by providing tools and activities;
  • Accelerate access to scientific findings to promote advancement of the industry;
  • Host quarterly webinars on research efforts and marine energy project monitoring studies;
  • Expand strategic partnerships to groups with relevant missions;
  • Engage the regulatory and research community to enable effective licensing and inform research gaps; and
  • Plan and execute an international conference (depending on potential contribution).

 

Year 3 (May 2018 - May 2019)

Continue to update and review the Tethys database including the ongoing development of tools and filters to increase accessibility of the content; continue to foster strategic partnerships with organizations and networks engaged in the collection and analysis of environmental monitoring information from ocean energy systems; further grow an online forum for ocean energy environmental research; host quarterly webinars; organize and sponsor a workshop to address key research questions; plan for 2020 state of the science report.

 

Specific tasks included:

  • Update the Tethys database by leveraging the expertise of an analyst identified by each participating nation;
  • Sixth formal review of Tethys database by external experts identified by member nations;
  • Expand the online forum by providing tools and activities;
  • Accelerate access to scientific findings to promote advancement of the industry;
  • Host quarterly webinars on research efforts and marine energy project monitoring studies;
  • Expand strategic partnerships to groups with relevant missions;
  • Engage the regulatory and research community to enable effective licensing and inform research gaps;
  • Plan for involvement in an international conference in Year 4; and
  • Begin writing the next State of the Science report for completion in Year 4.

 

Year 4 (May 2019 - May 2020)

Continue to update and review the Tethys database including the ongoing development of tools and filters to increase accessibility of the content; continue to foster strategic partnerships with organizations and networks engaged in the collection and analysis of environmental monitoring information from ocean energy systems; further grow an online forum for ocean energy environmental research; host quarterly webinars; develop the 2020 state of the science report.

 

Specific tasks included:

  • Update the Tethys database by leveraging the expertise of an analyst identified by each participating nation;
  • Seventh formal review of Tethys database by external experts identified by member nations;
  • Expand the online forum by providing tools and activities;
  • Accelerate access to scientific findings to promote advancement of the industry;
  • Host quarterly webinars on research efforts and marine energy project monitoring studies;
  • Expand strategic partnerships to groups with relevant missions;
  • Engage the regulatory and research community to enable effective licensing and inform research gaps;
  • Partner with an international conference (depending on potential contribution); and
  • Complete the State of the Science report.
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