The installation consisted of two full scale Seabased devices, an under-water switchgear and a sub-sea cable (2.7 km) connecting the generators to the 22-kV grid. The wave power system was in operation only for a short time, and the equipment, except for the cable, was recovered in 2013. The technology consisted of linear generators, mounted to the sea floor, with surface buoys connected to the generator via a tight cable.
The Runde test site is situated approximately 400 m off the island of Runde (West-Norway) at 45-90 m water depth on gravel substratum with interspersed rock and some sand. 25 km SW of Aalesund; County of Møre og Romsdal, Municipality of Herøy. The site belongs to the Runde environmental centre (www.rundecentre.no) and is now (2017) occupied by a new WEC developer.
The devices and switchgear were deployed in September 2009. However the machines have not been operational due to technical problems with the takeoff/surface buoy and the project has been put on hold.
The permit was issued in December 2008. The permit application was delivered to the Norwegian authorities, (Norwegian Electricity Authority “Norges Vassdrags- og Energidirektorat” NVE) in May 2008 and a consultation process was undertaken. Seven months after, in December 2008, the consent was given by NVE. The operational permit was valid for five years, i.e. until January, 2014. It should be noted that the permit application and environmental risk evaluation is a fairly short document, and that no permit was given in accordance to the EIA-directive, but only to national legislations. The existing legislation, in combination with the limited lifetime and extent of the project, did not entail the need for an extensive EIA and baseline surveys before the permit was given.
The permit states a number of conditions with regard to the environment. i) a plan for the environmental monitoring is to be delivered to NVE before deployment of the devices and monitoring results are to be delivered to NVE at the end of the project; ii) if items of archaeological interest are discovered, all installation work must immediately be stopped and the Bergen Maritime Museum must be informed; iii) marking of the buoys must be undertaken according to guidelines and legislation; iv) an agreement must be made with the local kelp trawlers that no trawling will be undertaken in the cable area during the test period.
The general expectation on the project was that it would have little or no impact on the ecological communities in the area. This expectation is related to the small project scale (both spatial and temporal). Still the authorities required environmental monitoring to be undertaken within the area, in order to investigate the presence/absence of impact on the environment. A monitoring programme was therefore designed during 2008 and 2009. A second purpose of the monitoring was also for Vattenfall to gain experiences about the design and management of an environmental monitoring programme and test a variety of monitoring methodologies and equipment. These experiences were to be used for Vattenfall’s future larger scale wave power projects.
The overall project management for the environmental monitoring was carried out by Vattenfall AB, but the scientific advising and execution of the programme was the responsibility of researchers at Runde Environmental Centre. In addition, external scientific review is providing by researchers at Vattenfall AB, the University of Uppsala and the Norwegian Institute for Nature Research (NINA).
The environmental monitoring at the test site focuses on three groups of ecological communities that, both by scientific experts involved in the process and by the Norwegian authorities involved in the consent process, were deemed the most likely to respond to an installation that size at the particular location: fish, benthos (bottom-dwelling flora and fauna) and birds.
As far as possible and practical, the general monitoring strategy follows a so-called BACI (Before-After, Control-Impact) design with control-impact comparisons modified to a gradient analysis in a number of cases. Hence, studies were to be performed before, and after the deployment and during operation of the wave energy system, i.e. over a period of approximately three years, given a two-year test period. However, due to the fact that the project was put on hold the environmental monitoring programme was never carried out according to the plans. Initial investigations were performed for fish abundance and benthic communities during the first year, but when the technical parts of the project were put on hold so were the environmental.
Environmental Webpage: There’s no dedicated environmental webpage. Contacts for environmental issues: Harvey Appelbe, Harvey.email@example.com