The EIMR (Environmental Interactions of Marine Renewables) conference was held April 30 - May 1 2014 on the Isle of Lewis in the Hebrides, Scotland, UK. Two hundred scientists from the UK, Europe, and North America came together at the An Lanntair Arts Centre in Stornoway, for two days of oral and poster presentations, with a series of workshops on closely related topics rounding out the week.
This is the second EIMR conference, following a very successful gathering in Kirkwall on Orkney, Scotland, UK, in 2012. The EIMR conference is rapidly becoming a major international gathering for researchers, regulators, and students who focus on understanding the potential environmental effects of marine energy development.
As wave and tidal energy developments emerge around the world, there continues to be knowledge gaps about interactions of these devices with ecological and physical processes in the marine environment. The emerging marine energy industry needs input from the research community to site and permit their developments; at the same time, these new developments presents the research community with rare opportunities to investigate interactions.
The oral presentation, papers and posters presented at EIMR 2014 are provided below. Each paper or poster is listed by first author, along with a brief description. Most papers include an extended abstract, video of presentation slides, and an audio file of the presentation, all attached as downloadable pdfs. A few papers and sessions do not have complete audio or video files. Some posters are presented as downloadable pdfs as well.
Session 1: Policy & Consenting - Chair: Marc Murray
Practical Experience of Sectoral Planning for Marine Renewable Energy Development in Scotland
Ian Davies and David Pratt, Marine Scotland Science
A Framework for Environmental Risk Assessment and Decision-making for Tidal Energy Development in Canada
Graham Daborn, Acadia University
Councils in Partnership: A Local Authority Perspective on Marine Spatial Planning
Shona Turnbull, Highland Council
Annex IV - International Collaboration to Investigate Environmental Effects of Wave and Tidal Devices
Andrea Copping, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
Management of Sustainable Fisheries Alongside Marine Renewables: Modelling the Spatial Interactions
Michael Bell, Heriot-Watt University
Session 2: Policy & Consenting; Society & People - Chair: Sandy Kerr
New Perspectives on Fisheries: Combining the Distribution of Inshore and Offshore Commercial Fisheries in Scotland
Andronikos Kafas, Marine Scotland Science
Development and Consenting of Carnegie Wave Energy's Perth Wave Energy Project, Experiences from Down Under
Edwina Davies Ward, Carnegie Wave Energy Limited
The Attitudes of Fishermen on the Island of Ireland Towards the Development of Marine Renewable Energy in their Locality - Preliminary Survey Results
Kieran Reilly, University College Cork
Human Dimensions Research on Marine Hydrokinetic Energy Development in Maine
Jessica Jansujwicz, Sustainability Solutions Initiative
Perceptions of the Inshore Wave Resource by Beach Water Users in the Lee of Wave Hub
Christopher Stokes, Plymouth University
Historic Environment Guidance for Wave and Tidal Renewable Energy
Philip Robertson, Historic Scotland
Session 3: Faunal Interactions 1 - Chair Ben Wilson
Salmon in Scottish Coastal Waters: Recent Advancements in Knowledge in Relation to their Interactions with Marine Renewable Energy Installations
Jason Godfrey, Marine Scotland Science
Responses of Free-Living Coastal Pelagic Fish to Impulsive Sounds
Anthony Hawkins, The Environmental Research Institute
Fish Interactions with Marine Renewable Devices: Lessons Learned, from Ecological Design to Improving Cost-Effectiveness
Gayle Zydlewski, University of Maine
Assessing the Impact of Man-Made Underwater Noise from Marine Renewable in the Outer Hebrides
Peter Ward, Kongsberg Maritime Ltd
Littoral Characterisation of West Mainland Orkney: The Relationship between Wave Energy, Topography and the Biological Community
Andrew Want, Heriot-Watt University
A Combination of Empirical and Modelled Datasets Reveals Associations between Deep Diving Seabirds and Oceanographical Processes at Fine Spatiotemporal Scales in a High Energy Habitat
James Waggitt, University of Aberdeen
Session 4: Methodology - Chair: Ian Davies
Integrated Instrumentation for Marine Energy Monitoring
Brian Polagye, University of Washington
Marine Mammals and Tidal Turbines: What are the Issues of Concern and how are they being Resolved?
Ben Wilson, Scottish Association for Marine Science (SAMS)
Analysis of Experience from Environmental Impact Assessments of Wave Energy Test Centres
Anne Marie O'Hagan, University College Cork
Using the FLOWBEC Seabed Frame to Understand Underwater Interactions Between Diving Seabirds, Prey, Hydrodynamics and Tidal and Wave Energy Structures
Benjamin Williamson, University of Aberdeen
Multi-Disciplinary Risk Identification and Evaluation for the Tidal Industry
Athanasios Kolios, Cranfield University
Seabird Surveys in High Energy Marine Sites; Marrying Best Practice and Guidance
Digger Jackson, Natural Research Projects Ltd
Session 5: Ecological Modelling - Chair: Mike Bell
Exploring the Movements of Atlantic Salmon around Scottish Coasts, using Historical Tagging Data and a Simple Agent-Based Modelling Approach
Andrew Guerin, Environmental Research Institute
A Tool to Predict the Impact of Anthropogenic Noise on Fish
Rick Bruintjes, University of Exeter
A Review of Marine Bird Diving Behaviour: Assessing Underwater Collision Risk with Tidal Turbines
Alexandra Robbins, Scottish Natural Heritage
Understanding the Potential for Marine Megafauna Entanglement Risk from Renewable Marine Energy Developments
Steven Benjamins, Scottish Association for Marine Science (SAMS)
An Overview of a Simulation Approach to Assessing Environmental Risk of Sound Exposure to Marine Mammals
Carl Donavan, University of St Andrews
Use of Population Viability Analysis (PVA) to Assess the Potential for Long Term Impacts from Piling Noise on Marine Mammal Populations - A Case Study from the Scottish East Coast
Kate Grellier presenting for Ruth De Silva, Natural Power Consultants
Modelling Impact Assessment in Renewables Development Areas using the New R Package, MRSea v0.1.1
Lindesay Scott-Hayward, University of St Andrews
Impacts of Tidal-Stream Energy Converter (TEC) Arrays in Relation to the Natural Variability of Sedimentary Processes
Peter Robins, Bangor University
Session 6: Faunal Interactions 2 - Chair: Beth Scott
Tidal Energy, Underwater Noise & Marine Mammals
Caroline Carter, Scottish Natural Heritage
Tracking Porpoise Underwater Movements in Tidal Rapids using Drifting Hydrophone Arrays. Filling a Key Information Gap for Assessing Collision Risk
Jamie Macaulay, Sea Mammal Research Unit
Listening for Canaries in a Tornado: Acoustic Monitoring for Harbour Porpoise at the FORCE Site
Jason Wood, Sea Mammal Research Unit Canada Ltd
Movement Patterns of Seals in Tidally Energetic Sites: Implications for Renewable Energy Development
Gordon Hastie, Sea Mammal Research Unit
Marine Mammals and Tidal Turbines: Understanding True Collision Risk
Jason Wood presenting for Carol Sparling, Sea Mammal Research Unit Canada Ltd
Environmental Impacts over the Seabed and Benthic Communities of Submarine Cable Installation in the Biscay Marine Energy Platform (BIMEP)
Juan Bald, AZTI-Tecnalia (Marine Research Division)
Monitoring Benthic Habitats and Biodiversity at the Tidal Energy Site of Paimpol-Bréhat (Brittany, France)
Antoine Carlier, Technopôle de Brest-Iroise
Session 7: Resource Modelling - Chair: Ian Bryden
Better Together: The Implications of Tidal Resource Interactions from Resource Calculation to Policy and Governance
David Woolf, Heriot-Watt University
Monitoring Spatial Variability for Marine Energy Sites
Ian Ashton presenting for Helen Smith, University of Exeter
The Hebridean Wave Model
David Christie, Lews Castle College
Modelling Changes to Physical Environmental Impacts Due to Wave Energy Array Layouts
Ian Ashton presenting for Helen Smith, University of Exeter
The Implications of Wave-Tide Interactions in Marine Renewables Within the UK Continental Shelf Seas
Reza Hasemi, Bangor University
The Modelling of Tidal Turbine Farms using Multi-Scale, Unstructured Mesh Models
Stephan Kramer, Imperial College London
The Role of Tidal Asymmetry in Characterising the Tidal Energy Resource of Orkney
Simon Neill, Bangor University
Session 8: Overviews - Chair: David Woolf
Flow and Benthic Ecology 4D - FLOWBEC - An Overview
Paul Bell, National Oceanography Centre
What's Next and Why? A Look Ahead at Strategic Ecological Research Direction
Beth Scott, University of Aberdeen
Estimating Distribution of Sedimentary Benthic Habitats and Species on the Eastern Pacific Shelf and Detecting Effects of Device Deployment
Sarah Henkel, Oregon State University
Use of Animal Tracking Technology to Assess Potential Risks of Tidal Turbine Interactions with Fish
Anna Redden, Acadia University
Advances in Research to Understand the Impacts of Wave and Tidal Energy Devices in the United States
Jocelyn Brown-Saracino, US Department of Energy
Marine Radar Derived Current Vector Mapping at a Planned Commercial Tidal Stream Turbine Array in the Pentland Firth
David McCann, National Oceanographic Centre
Diving and Foraging Behavior of Seabirds in a High-Energy Tidal Stream: Implications for Encountering Tidal-Stream Devices.
Alex Robbins, Scottish Natural Heritage
Diving seabirds may encounter and collide with tidal turbine installations while foraging underwater. The consequences of collisions with these devices have the potential to impact on seabird populations. For birds with foraging and diving preferences within high energy tidal streams the devices may have important behavioural and ecological implications. However, our knowledge base on this is currently very limited. Our study seeks to develop our understanding of seabird foraging and diving behaviour under different tidal conditions within a high-energy tidal stream. Focal observations were undertaken from vantage points along the length of Bluemull Sound, Shetland. We present results on diving frequency under these different tidal conditions, and also determine if any relationships exist between diving direction and bird movement and the current flow within the sound. This study is identifying under which tidal conditions species may be more likely to encounter tidal turbines. This should lead to a more accurate assessment of the impacts of marine renewable energy developments. (Poster Summary Paper)
Offshore Wind in the Belgium Part of the North Sea: Understanding Environmental Impacts.
Bob Rumes, Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences
Belgium has allocated a 238km² zone in the Belgian part of the North Sea (BPNS) to offshore renewable energy production, for example offshore wind farms. The first wind turbines were built in 2008. At present (March 2014), 153 turbines are operational in the BPNS. The installed wind turbines differ in foundation type and generated power: while the first six wind turbines have gravity based foundations (GBF), the majority are monopiles (98) followed by jacket foundations (49). The power that can be generated ranges between 3 and 6.15 megawatt (MW) per wind turbine. In the next few years, several hundreds of turbines will be up and running. The offshore wind farms are expected to contribute for about 43% of the Belgian 2020 targets for renewable energy. (Poster Summary Paper)
From National to Regional Locational Guidance for Renewables.
Jacquline Tweddle, University of Aberdeen
The recently published Regional Locational Guidance for Wave and Tidal Devices in the Shetland Islands (RLG) arose as a first step in identifying opportunities for future renewable developments. Although marine renewables offer potential economic and environmental benefits, there is a need to ensure that the growth of this emergent industry considers existing features and users of the marine environment, and there is a clear role for marine spatial planning to guide its spatial development. In response to this, the Scottish government has produced Sectoral Marine Plans for offshore wind, wave and tidal energy. However, although these provide strategic direction for the marine renewables industry at a national, societal level, they do not represent the local cultural values of those potentially impacted by siting decisions. The Shetland RLG is a complementary, sensitivity led approach to identifying the suitability of areas around the Shetland Islands for renewable energy development. It has been successfully translated into policy within the Shetland Islands Marine Spatial Plan, which will form supplementary guidance to the Shetland Islands Council’s forthcoming Local Development Plan. Working closely with local stakeholders was key to this process, which incorporates economic, environmental, social and cultural constraints into one constraint model; constraint levels are set by local and societal values, rather than monetary equivalences. Here we present a comparison of this local plan to the national Sectoral Marine Plans, and provide insights on the process of developing local scale Guidance. (Poster Summary Paper)
Changes to Eddy Propagation due to Tidal Array at Ramsey Sound.
David Haverson, CEFAS
This paper details a depth averaged finite element model of the Pembrokeshire coast. The influence of a 10MW tidal array at St David’s Head is modelled as an extra sink in the momentum equations solved by the hydrodynamic software Telemac. Initial results show that, at St David’s Head during a peak spring flood (2.74m/s), the wake of the array extends ~4km. Ramsey Sound is very turbulent environment producing large eddies. The changes to the hydrodynamics, by the array, directly influence the creation and propagation of these eddies. Initial investigations suggest the influence of these eddies propagations may extend as far 35km away. (Poster Summary Paper)
Benthic Interactions with Renewable Energy Installations in a Temperate Ecosystem.
Emma Sheehan, Plymouth University Marine Institute
Wave Hub is a Marine Renewable Energy Installation (MREI) off the southwest peninsular of the UK. Wave Hub’s seabed infrastructure, including the main connection unit and 18km of seabed cable were deployed in 2010. To enhance knowledge on the potential future impacts of MREI, this study assesses the effect of the power cable, with its associated 80,000 tonnes of rock armoring. Species assemblages were compared between rock armored and control sites two years after installation. (Poster Summary Paper)
Underwater Sound Levels at a Wave Energy Device Testing Facility in Falmouth Bay, UK.
Joanne Garrett, University of Exeter
There is a paucity of evidence on the noise produced from in situ wave energy converters (WECs) during all stages of their deployment, operation and decommissioning. Research in this area is needed to inform the consenting process. The aim of this research is to gather empirical data to address this knowledge gap. A WEC has been trialled at the Falmouth Bay Test Site (FaBTest), in Cornwall, UK since March 2012. The area supports considerable commercial shipping and recreational boating along with diverse marine fauna, including bottlenose dolphins, harbour porpoises and fish. A passive acoustic monitoring device, recording broadband sound in the effective frequency range 10 Hz to 32 or 48 kHz, for half an hour in every hour, has been deployed at the FaBTest site since March 2012. Underwater sound monitoring covered a two week baseline period, a five day installation period, testing periods when the WEC was producing power and when the device was not producing power but was in situ. The median sound level during the baseline period ranged from 60-80 dB re 1 μPa in the frequency range 0.01-10 kHz, then decreasing to ~45 dB re 1 μPa at 48 kHz. It is likely that the considerable shipping present at the site affects the sound levels. Sound levels were, on average, higher during installation activity compared to periods of no installation activity in the frequency range 10-5000 Hz with a median increase of 8.2 dB re 1 μPa (interquartile range=6.7 dB re 1 μPa). Average sound levels were found to be louder at times when the WEC was producing power compared to times when the device was in situ and not producing power in the frequency range 10-1000 Hz with a prominent peak in the frequency range 57-63 Hz. From the long term monitoring of the site it has been identified that the sound levels are highly variable, and it is difficult to determine the effect of the wave energy converter in such a variable ambient noise environment. The paper will summarise the sound level findings and estimated source levels of installation and operational sounds, which will be combined with hearing sensitivity information from the literature to estimate the effect on local species. (Poster Summary Paper)
Improved Arrays for Towed Hydrophone Surveys of Small Cetaceans at Offshore Marine Energy Sites.
Jonathan Gordon, Sea Mammal Research Unit
Planned developments of marine renewables in areas which are important habitats for small cetaceans is providing an increased requirement for quantitative surveys in areas which are often physically challenging to work in. Towed passive acoustic surveys can be a cost effective method of providing abundance estimates over extended areas. There are some short comings with existing methods, especially in reliably measuring range from a track line for distance sampling analysis. We built, tested and compared the performance of three different arrays. All provided measures of range to sound sources that would be useful in Distance analysis. A long baseline planar array provided the lowest % error for target motion analysis (11%) and using newly developed code it was possible to calculate “instantaneous” locations for short vocalisation bursts using data from this array. An array with a tetrahedral configuration of hydrophones within an acoustically transparent “torpedo” housing showed promise as it provided unambiguous 3D bearings while being easy to deploy and retrieve at sea. We are encouraged by these early results and suggest some obvious next steps to achieve further improvements. (Poster Summary Paper)
A Frequency Dependant Method for the Simulation of Disturbances around a Small Scale Wave Farm using a Boussinesq Simulation.
Charles Greenwood, Lews Castle College
A Boussinesq model has been created to simulate the presence of an array of shallow water wave surge oscillator devices using DHI’s MIKE21 Boussinesq wave (BW) model suite. The simulation uses a regular grid domain with a constant depth of 10m and a grid spacing of 2m in the x and y dimension. This new method provides a crucial enhancement of including a frequency dependant absorption, where the devices reflected, absorbed and transmitted characteristics are shown using a realistic power transfer function. The frequency spectrum as a set of n monochromatic waves at frequency intervals with a proportional energy scaled wave height. A simulation is then run for each frequency where the porosity value is dependent on the WEC’s absorption spectrum. The results of each simulation are then summed to form overall wave energy. The results demonstrate the application of this new method and provide a detailed map of the spatial change in wave energy around devices, highlighting the regions of importance. (Poster Summary Paper)
The Use of Breeding Seabird Foraging Ranges for Assessing Impacts to Special Protection Areas (SPAs) from Wave and Tidal Renewable Energy Proposals.
Chris Eastham, Scottish Natural Heritage
Wave and tidal renewable energy devices have the potential to impact diving birds through collision, disturbance and habitat loss. EU and UK legislation requires that these impacts are assessed through an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and Habitats Regulations Appraisal (HRA). Under HRA, seabirds which are qualifying features of SPAs are protected both within and outwith the SPA and, therefore, potential impacts to breeding seabirds both within and outwith the SPA require assessment. During the breeding season, seabirds are known as central-place foragers, as they are fixed to a single geographical breeding location with a foraging range extending out to sea. The use of breeding season foraging ranges provides a suitable method for assessing geographical overlap, and thus connectivity, between SPA breeding seabird colonies and proposed wave and tidal renewable energy development sites. If connectivity is established, the next stage involves consideration of site characterisation survey results, information on impact pathways, and the sensitivity of the species to potential impacts. SPA breeding seabird populations are protected at all times and not just the breeding season. As such, any HRA will require assessment of SPA populations both during the breeding and non-breeding season. During the non-breeding season, however, most seabird species tend to range more widely and are not fixed to a single geographical location. We provide details of a GIS based analysis of breeding seabird foraging ranges to assess connectivity of SPAs with wave and tidal Areas for Lease. This method may also be used to assess connectivity for other protected seabird colonies, such as Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs), Marine Protected Areas, and for regionally important colonies, for assessment under the EIA. It may also be used to inform impact assessments for other marine developments, such as off-shore wind farms. This work provides a key resource to the consenting process and can be used by developers, consultants, government and their advisors in the assessment of environmental impacts of marine renewable developments. (Poster Summary Paper)
Sticking Together: Movement of Marine Mammals and Response to Underwater Noise.
Tom Adams, Scottish Association for Marine Science (SAMS)
Marine mammals use vocalisations for a number of purposes: in locating food and underwater obstacles, and to maintain contact with members of their family group. These sounds are loud in comparison with the ambient background, but are subject to masking due to underwater noise sources such as tidal turbines. We developed a model of animal movement which implements simple behavioural rules to allow group cohesion. We discuss some general features of group behaviour, and approaches to validation of the model using empirical data. Including external sources of noise can lead to loss of contact between group members. However, animals can take various measures to deal with these effects, such as more frequent vocalisation or “panic” swimming in response to sounds. (Poster Summary Paper)
Modelling Offshore Wind Farms off the East Coast of Scotland using the Finite-Volume Coastal Ocean Model (FVCOM).
Rory O'Hara Murray, Marine Scotland Science
There is considerable interest in Scotland in the expansion of renewable energy production. In particular, significant offshore wind energy developments are already planned in coastal waters to the east of the Forth and Tay estuaries. It is important to understand the local and cumulative environmental impact of such developments within this region, to aid licensing decisions but also to inform marine spatial planning in general. Offshore wind farms have the potential to interact with physical marine and coastal process in numerous ways, such as tidal, wind, and wave driven circulation, as well as coastal sediment transport and estuarine dynamics. These interactions can provide further feedbacks with ecological systems, which could ultimately have socio-economic consequences. The Firth of Forth and Tay areas both exhibit complex estuarine characteristics due to fresh water input, intricate bathymetry and coastline, and tidal mixing. An unstructured grid hydrodynamic model of the Firth of Forth and Tay region is being developed using the Finite-Volume Coastal Ocean Model. Our goal is to resolve the estuarine hydrography of the area, and simulate the presence of wind farms by considering the potential wind speed deficit due to the wind farms and by representing the wind turbine foundations within the model. In this study the potential for large wind farms to influence the physical processes in the area is investigated. It is anticipated that this work will help provide an accurate baseline of the hydrography in this region, and the means for the assessment of the potential consequences of multiple wind farm development scenarios. (Poster Summary Paper)
Comparison of Two Types of Hydrodynamic Models for Investigating the Environmental Impacts of Energy Extraction from Tidal Flows.
Simon Waldman, Heriot-Wall University
Two commercial suites, MIKE3 by DHI and TideModeller by Ansys, are used to simulate energy extraction by an array of tidal turbines in Lashy Sound, Orkney. We compare the predictions of the two models for the effects of energy extraction on flow speed and water level, and consider the advantages and disadvantages of the two modelling approaches for various environmental impact applications. (Poster Summary Paper)
Modelling the Impact of Tidal Farms on Flood Risk in the Solway Firth Estuary.
M. Garcia-Olivia, University of Exeter
The available tidal energy resource within estuaries is quite significant in the UK but these areas are usually prone to flooding. The objective of this study is the assessment of flood risk due to tidal farms in estuaries through its application to a real case, the Solway Firth. A numerical model has been developed to represent the hydrodynamic conditions of the estuary during an extreme event. The results from this model for the maximum velocities indicate the suitable locations for the tidal farms. Two different cases with parallel and staggered configurations of tidal farms have been introduced. The comparison of the results for the maximum water levels between the situations with and without the farms allow us to draw conclusions about changes of flood risk due to the farm and contrast the impact of two different arrangements of turbines. The values of the energy extracted in both configurations will also be investigated. (Poster Summary Paper)
A Qualitative, Mixed Methods Approach to Finding the Role of Agents for Change in the Development of Marine Renewable Energy in Island Regions.
Suzannah-Lynn Billing, Scottish Association of Marine Science (SAMS)
This study uses a qualitative, mixed methods technique to explore the concept of agents for change in the context of community within the case study of wave energy development on the Isle of Lewis and on Orkney, in the Highlands and Islands region of Scotland. It gives a summary of the developed methods and why they were chosen and briefly discusses the role of agents for change and the issues that they face. (Poster Summary Paper)
Biofouling Babies could Go the Distance: Barnacle Larvae Spawned at Offshore Habitat have Greater Dispersal Potential.
Raeanne Miller, Scottish Association of Marine Science (SAMS)
The planned construction of increasingly large marine renewable energy installations around the UK could substantially increase the availability of hard habitat in many coastal locations. Many authors have suggested that once colonised, these structures are likely to act as stepping-stones for the spread of both native and non-native species. Stepping-stone connectivity between structures may be of growing concern as marine renewable energy developments begin to transition from single devices to increasingly large arrays. Current marine renewable energy environmental impact assessment (EIA) regulations state that cumulative effects must be addressed in any EIA; modelling studies of connectivity could be useful when identifying the scales of concern for relevant environmental effects (e.g. spread of non-native species, enhancement or detraction from commercial species stocks). We aimed to assess the characteristics of dispersing organisms which might enhance their ability to colonise offshore structures and spread via stepping-stones. These characteristics included larval behaviour in the form of vertical distribution routines, spawning habitat depth and location, and pelagic larval duration. We coupled a hydrodynamic model of the Firth of Lorn region, Scotland, to realistic biological models of the larval behaviour of three species of barnacle. These biological models were developed from field surveys of horizontal and vertical zooplankton distributions and available literature data on seabed habitat. Modelled dispersal distances ranged between 17.5 and 74 km, and particles could be effectively dispersed throughout the model domain. Vertical positioning in the modelled flow fields strongly influenced the dispersal paths and transport distances of particles. Where spawning habitat was located several kilometres offshore, horizontal transport and dispersal were enhanced. We suggest a sound understanding of species biology, including habitat preferences, larval vertical distributions, and pelagic larval duration, is essential when assessing the stepping-stone connectivity of biofouling species on marine renewable energy developments. Furthermore, populations formed at renewable energy structures may experience greater transport and dispersal, as larvae may be more quickly swept into directional flows and away from natal habitat. This could increase downstream connectivity for these populations, and amplify the effects and population impacts of successful settlers on offshore renewable energy devices, despite the small habitat surface area they offer. Where these developments span biogeographic barriers, unprecedented dispersal to further habitat could become a possibility for some organisms including climate migrants and/or non-native species. (Poster Summary Paper)
Assessing Effects of Increased Noise Levels on Fish Behaviour.
Irene Voellmy, University of Bristol
Man-made noise can affect physiology and behaviour of animals of all taxa, including fish. However, there is not much known about effects of increased noise levels on anti-predator and foraging behaviour, which are both essential for survival and reproduction. In our laboratory study, we investigated effects of increased noise levels on these behaviours in two sympatric fish species, three-spined sticklebacks (Gasterosteus aculeatus) and European minnows (Phoxinus phoxinus), which differ in their anti-predator defences and likely in their hearing capabilities. Our study indicated that both behavioural contexts were affected by increased noise levels, but effects differed between species. Sticklebacks responded to a visual predatory stimulus sooner when exposed to additional noise playbacks than in control conditions, whereas minnows were not affected by the noise treatments. In foraging experiments, both fish species consumed fewer water fleas, but the reasons fish decreased food consumption seemed species specific: sticklebacks increased the number of foraging errors, whereas minnows tended to decrease their foraging effort by interacting socially more often and more individuals were inactive during increased noise level conditions. To allow for controlled comparative experiments, our studies were conducted in the laboratory. Complementary field experiments ensuring natural acoustic conditions will be necessary to investigate whether species differences can translate into community effects and whether these effects differ between different kinds of noise, such as drilling, pile driving and energy device operation noise. Expanding research to commercially important fish and quantification of particle motion in addition to sound pressure as most fish, and likely invertebrate species, perceive particle motion rather than sound pressure, would further deliver valuable knowledge for industry, policy makers and fisheries managers about how marine renewable energy devices may interfere with the marine environment. (Poster Summary Paper)
Effects of Man-Made Structures on Sedimentary Oxygenation: Extent, Seasonality and Implications for Offshore Renewables.
Tom Wilding, Scottish Association of Marine Science (SAMS)
The number of man-made structures to be placed in the marine environment is set to increase massively in the near future as a consequence of the wide-scale adoption and commercialisation of offshore electricity generation. Marine renewable energy devices (MREDs) interact with their receiving environment and are de-facto artificial reefs. The Loch Linnhe Artificial Reef (LLR) complex is a large-scale experimental facility, with the main matrix consisting of 30 separate reef modules deployed in 10-30m depth and over a gradient of hydrographic and sedimentological conditions. The LLR offers potential to examine impacts that are analogous to those likely to occur around MREDs. The aim was to assess changes associated with reefproximity to inform us about the likely extent and nature of the impacts that are likely to occur around offshore structures that are placed in similar environments. (Poster Summary Paper)
Modelling Wave Energy in Archipelagos - Case of Northern Scotland.
Philippe Gleizon, Environmental Research Institute
Scotland has a complex coastline that includes hundreds of islands and three major archipelagos, Hebrides, Orkneys and Shetlands. In order to predict the wave resources, the spectral wind wave SWAN was designed on an unstructured grid over the Scottish shelf sea. The grid provides a good resolution in nearshore areas and allows long fetched wind waves. In spite of the domain size, previous simulations suggested that the boundary conditions could have a significant impact on wave predictions. The implementation of boundary conditions derived from 1D spectral data significantly improved the model predictions. A comparison of the wave energy estimated from wave buoy records and model predictions shows only an under-prediction of 3%. (Poster Summary Paper)
Research Needs to Reduce Environmental, Social and Economic Impacts of Marine Renewable Energy Development and Streamline the Consenting Process: An Industry Perspective.
Matthew Ashley, Plymouth Marine Laboratory
Ensuring novel research and existing best practice are applied to environmental and socio economic consenting issues for marine renewable energy developments provides a possible win-win. Consenting can be streamlined to increase investor’s confidence in developments whilst environmental and socio-economic issues can be identified, assessed and mitigated at the earliest possible stage. To identify priority research topics that have been encountered by the marine renewable energy industry a questionnaire based survey was developed and conducted with industry, regulatory and relevant consultancy personnel. Of the priority research topics identified the existing research and planned projects that were relevant to those topics were summarised following review of existing research activity and discussions with researchers. Following the review of existing research key evidence gaps were identified at the time of the study. These included; development of a knowledge base and planning processes to allow identification of key scoping factors at a site, development of best practice methods for socio economic assessments and stakeholder engagement, evidence on the response and movement patterns of marine mammals encountering tidal turbines and development of effective means to share data from each demonstration array. (Poster Summary Paper)
The Pentland Salmon Initiative: A New Reserach Partnership Exploring the Potential Interactions between Migratory Fish and Marine Renewables.
Andrew Guerin, Environmental Research Institute
Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) are iconic and economically important fish, but their migratory behaviour during passage through Scottish coastal seas is not well understood, and there are several key questions which need to be answered in order to predict possible interactions with marine renewable energy arrays. Do migrating salmon (adults and post-smolts) travel through marine renewable energy development areas? Will migrating fish actually encounter arrays of devices as they pass through these areas? What effects might these encounters have on migrating salmon, and what might be the consequences of these interactions for fish populations? In response to these questions, the Environmental Research Institute has established the Pentland Salmon Initiative – a new partnership which aims to engage a growing number of organisations with interests or experience relevant to marine renewables and salmon migration, with a particular focus on the Pentland Firth. This site represents not only a potential bottleneck for migrating salmon but also a key site for the developing marine energy sector. (Poster Summary Paper)
Wave Action Measurements of the Intertidal Zoneto Enable Long-Term Environmental Monitoring and Predictions of Ecological Impact due to Wave Energy Converter Systems.
Robert Beharie, Heriot-Watt University
Future installations of utility scale wave energy converter (WEC) arrays have the potential to affect both the annual and seasonal wave energy levels on adjacent shorelines while the potential modification of these intertidal habitats and their associated biological assemblages, due to their proximity to such developments, are not well understood. Unfortunately we currently lack the ability to make accurate predictions of possible impact, particularly to existing vulnerable species that may be under protection by legislation; due to ecological classification systems featuring qualitative energy levels based on physically defined characteristics and not in-situ measured wave energy levels. This situation has been due to the historically reported difficulty of working in such a highly energetic environment especially when long-term monitoring is required. Hydrodynamic models have been used for investigating wave propagation in and around wave devices, but their use is limited by grid resolution and the availability of suitable bathymetric data. A new low-cost device, positioned within biotopes of interest, together with a practical methodology are presented which have been specifically developed to provide a safe and reliable long-term quantitative proxy measurement of wave action on high energy shorelines, thus enabling the discrimination of wave energy levels within a relevant spatial scale of rocky shore biota. Research has been carried out at two replicate intertidal sites, 14km apart, on the west coast of Orkney and both have been able to provide a two year continuous data set of wave action results. The results presented in this work highlight significant seasonal difference in the average energy levels associated with biotopes that are currently classed as having equivalent levels in the European Nature Information System (EUNIS) classification system. They also support the conclusion that the use of the existing energy classes in classification systems are poorly suited for this field of research and highlights the requirement for quantitative values to be produced.
A Tidal Energy Lagoon in Swansea Bay: Optimising its Value for Biodiversity by Creating an Artificial Reef.
Ruth Callaway, Swansea University
Tidal Lagoon Swansea Bay plc (TLSB) proposes to construct a tidal energy lagoon. The structure will enclose an 11.5km² tidal area. The lagoon wall will stretch for 9.5km and incorporate up to 16 underwater turbines which produce 400GWh on a net annual output basis. The nature of the project requires the building of rock armour protected seawalls which will be placed on top of the soft substratum in Swansea Bay. It will hence add to the existing rocky intertidal and subtidal habitat in the area. The company aspires to optimise the design of the wall to promote biodiversity and create an artificial reef. TLSB collaborates with the SEACAMS project at Swansea University to explore options that would benefit the ecological value of the lagoon. The EU project SEACAMS (Sustainable Expansion of the Applied Coastal and Marine Sectors in Wales) is a strategic development project to integrate research and business opportunities around the coast of Wales. Recommendations for the project were guided by the latest research on eco-engineering of coastal defence structures in the coastal and marine environment (URBANE project, 2013). They can be broadly separated into hard engineering solutions, which affect the nature and texture of the building materials, and soft engineering, referring to the creation of biogenic habitat features. (Poster Summary Paper)
Advances in Studying Vocalising Cetaceans in Energetic Coastal Sites using Moored and Drifting Passive Acoustic Detectors.
Jim Elliot, Scottish Association for Marine Science (SAMS)
Dynamic coastal waters present considerable difficulties for the study of cetacean distribution, abundance and habitat use, due to diverse bathymetry, exposed coastlines and the variable impact of tides and waves. With these areas showing increased interest for wave and tidal developments, detailed information on cetacean activity and their use of these areas is important information for consenting. Vessel-mounted surveys of these sites are often negatively impacted by unsettled weather patterns and localised tidal conditions, and can offer only snapshots of cetacean distribution. Conversely, moored passive acoustic monitoring (e.g. C-PODs) allows for continuous data acquisition, although moorings can be costly to deploy and run the risk of equipment loss from trawlers or strong tidal flows. For the last three years, our research group has specialised in developing and testing low-cost, lightweight mooring designs for tidal and wave energy sites off Scotland. Autonomous porpoise click detectors (C-PODs) and sub-surface acoustic releases were included within linear moorings of rope, chain and ballast, and deployed from commercial vessels with modest winch specifications. Our methods have evolved following positive and negative experiences, resulting in recent successes in tidal (click detectors deployed in 100m with 5m/s current for 5 days) and wave energy test sites (click detectors deployed over 250m in 60m of water over 2 months). Previous losses were due to: a) delayed retrieval, b) unknown fishing activity or c) poor buoyancy design. New techniques have utilised moored and drifting click detectors to assess variability in temporal-spatial distribution of harbour porpoise (Phocoena phocoena). Recent trials have shown that 1) basic mooring designs can be efficiently deployed from low-cost platforms, 2) lack of surface expression greatly reduces consenting requirements and risks, 3) moored passive acoustic methods can, as a result, be successfully used to study odontocete cetaceans in tidal streams, and 4) drifting detectors are easy and cost-effective to deploy; 5) they provide wider spatial coverage albeit without standardised effort coverage, 6) the combination of moored and drifting devices can provide more detailed information about how porpoises use the site. (Poster Summary Paper)
Turbulence, Trophic Interactions and Sustainable Energy Extraction.
Shaun Fraser, University of Aberdeen
This interdisciplinary study seeks to investigate the poorly understood role of turbulence in sites appropriate for tidal energy extraction, drawing on expertise from ecology and engineering. These highly energetic environments represent a challenge in data collection and analysis. Variable surface wind/wave interactions, extreme tidal friction effects and intense shear in the wake of obstacles lead to the vertical advection of bubbles and deep turbulent circulations. The resulting complex flow environments are a challenge for the design of devices and arrays, as well important ecologically as foraging habitats of many mobile species. This project utilises a variety of acoustic instruments to provide new information on the physical properties and ecological implications of turbulence in these environments. This study will lead to a better understanding of the scale and significance of the impacts of marine energy extraction. (Poster Summary Paper)
Riding the Waves: Use of the Pelamis Device by Seabirds.
Angus Jackson, Environmental Research Institute
Seabirds are important marine predators that may be influenced by developments in marine renewable energy. To explore how seabirds might exploit novel floating structures at sea, an autonomous camera system was used to record attendance of seabirds on a Pelamis wave-energy device. Numbers and identities of seabirds on the machine were explored in relation to a set of metocean variables. Use of the machine was most affected by time of day, but less so by state of the tide. Birds did not use the machine during strong winds or when waves were large. Cameras can provide an effective, low-cost way to collect data about seabirds over weeks or months in inaccessible locations and under inclement metocean conditions. (Poster Summary Paper)
Effects of Offshore Wind Farms (OWFs) on Fishing Activity and Landings.
Matthew Ashley, Plymouth Marine Laboratory
The development of offshore wind farms (OWFs) and other marine renewable energy technologies and the designation of marine protected areas will place pressure on existing economic activities. Marine spatial planning opportunities for habitat enhancement and co-location may also be provided. Spatial fishing effort for two fishing gear categories, mobile and static gear, was analysed for pre and post construction periods at three separate UK OWF sites. Fishermen were also interviewed on their experiences of the effects of OWFs, existing pressures prior to OWF development and perceptions of the best planning scenarios to accommodate OWFs, marine protected areas (MPAs) and economically viable fisheries in each region. Mobile fishing activity displayed the greatest displacement of fishing effort from OWF sites. Fishermen using static gears identified potential benefits to stocks and fisheries if reef material was deployed within OWFs. Benefits from co-location of OWFs and MPAs were raised by fishermen. Mobile gear fishermen identified a benefit if fishing grounds remained open elsewhere. Static gear fishermen identified a benefit from colocation if they retained access but mobile vessels were prohibited. (Poster Summary Paper)
The Multipurpose Offshore TROPOS Platform: Environmental and Societal Issues.
Lars Golmen, Norwegian Institute for Water Research
The key objective of the on-going TROPOS project is the development of a floating modular multi-use platform system for use in deep waters with an initial geographic focus on locations of Crete (Greece), Gran Canaria and Taiwan. The TROPOS multi-use platform system will be able to integrate a range of functions from the Transport, Energy, Aquaculture and Leisure sectors. A core part of the project addresses Environmental and Socio-Economic Impact Assessment (EIA, SIA) from the construction and operation of the platform, that are assessed through common schemes for all locations (European/international regulations), and then adapted to the pending national and local regulations. The conference presentation describes the procedures and some results from these assessments. (Poster Summary Paper)
Best Practice in MRE Risk Assessment: Experience from the Bay of Fundy.
Graham Daborn, Fundy Energy Research Network
Determining the acceptability of marine renewable energy is a ballet with three Acts: I – Context and Problem Definition; II – Project Definition and Risk Assessment; and III – Adaptive Management. Increasingly, there are calls for a statement of best practices to guide developers, regulators and communities in determining the acceptability of energy development proposals, but the best practices need to cover a bewildering and diverse spectrum of activities and contexts. Nova Scotia – which generated nearly 90% of its electricity from fossil fuels in 2007 – established a target of >40% of its electricity to come from renewable energy such as wind and tidal power by 2020. The environmental and socio-economic trade-offs required for a rapid transition to renewable energy necessitates an aggressive but adaptive strategy based upon the best scientific and socio-economic information, cross-sectoral cooperation, extensive public engagement, and a sophisticated process of risk evaluation.
Consolidation of Wave and Tidal Energy EIA/HRA Issues and Research Priorities.
Ian Hutchison, Aquatera Ltd
Aquatera was commissioned by The Crown Estate to identify priority research projects that should form the principal/initial focus of any coordinated research programme that is established for the wave and tidal energy sectors in the UK. A consolidated list of EIA/HRA issues facing the wave and tidal sectors was produced through extensive consultation with regulators, advisors, industry and researchers. Following identification of the EIA/HRA issues and a detailed gap analysis, five priority research projects were identified that could form the focus of any coordinated research programme. Additional research priorities that would best be coordinated by regulators, statutory nature conservation bodies, developers and researchers were also identified. Priority projects that were considered most suitable for a coordinated research programme to focus upon were; behavioural monitoring around wave and tidal developments, investigation into the possible consequences of collisions with tidal current turbines, further development of instrumentation for monitoring behaviour around wave and tidal energy developments, development of an approach for assessing the effects of displacement and the establishment of an evidence base for operational device acoustic data.
Uncertaintly in the Assessment of Cumulative Impacts: The Case of Marine Renewable Energy in the UK.
Elizabeth Masden, Environmental Research Institute
Cumulative impacts and their assessments are receiving more attention in the UK as marine renewable energy applications are increasing with an unprecedented industrialisation of the marine environment. The uncertainty surrounding cumulative impacts however remains high and is becoming a cause of delay in the consenting process. Using the example of birds and wind farms, this study examines the types and sources of uncertainty in cumulative impact assessments and provides recommendations as to how these may be reduced. To reduce uncertainty in the cumulative impact assessment process, adequately assess cumulative impacts and streamline the consenting process for marine renewable energy applications, all sources of uncertainty must be addressed.
Offshore Renewables and Impacts: Who Cares, How Much and Why?
Thomas Wilding, Scottish Association for Marine Science (SAMS)
Background: The number of man-made structures to be placed in the marine environment is set to increase massively in the near future as a consequence of the wide-scale adoption and commercialisation of offshore electricity generation. Marine renewable energy devices (MREDs) interact with their receiving environment at a number of levels. Environmental monitoring in relation to these interactions has focussed on the top-predators (cetaceans, pinnipids and birds), commercially relevant groups such as fish and seabed organisms. Aim: 1. To review the basis of current monitoring programmes from a European planning perspective. 2. Comment on the likely scale of MRED-environment interactions and consider how these differ between different receptors (from mammals to benthic infauna). 3. Suggest ways of developing proportionate monitoring programmes that are relevant, in space and time, and cost-effective. 4. Show how regulators will need to make ‘value-judgements’ in relation to receptor-type and receptor-risk and prioritise limited monitoring funds appropriately. Review contents: Monitoring programmes should start with a clear understanding/statement of the questions being addressed and these should be considered within the likely cumulative and ecosystem consequences of the proposed development. In order to assist this process the following aspects will be addressed: 1. the difference between ‘impact monitoring’ and ‘environmental research’. 2. the need to clearly specify what it is that we actually care about – what is our metric/ response variable? 3. that tests of null hypotheses of ‘no impact’ are of limited value 4. the need for effect sizes, not null hypotheses. 5. the need for spatially and temporally defined effect sizes 6. the need for affordability – how to we maximise overall monitoring efficacy? Conclusions: Monitoring and research usually have quite different objectives (e.g. in the spatial domain) and, consequently, monitoring programmes are not necessarily helpful in understanding processes relevant to their proper design. Through environmental research we need to predict/identify and understand processes and interactions, occurring around offshore structures, which are of a relevant scale and involve societallyrelevant processes. Ecosystem models, with relevantly-scaled domains (e.g. the North Sea), supported by hydrographic models, would be useful in identifying potential factors and processes that are relevant to a wide-range of receptors and ecosystem services. Considerable thought should be given to how limited resources be allocated, to maximise cost-benefit, and monitor only those aspects of environment that are considered at most risk. Decisions should be made in relation to the efficacy of monitoring ecosystem components that are considered at low-risk.
Quantifying Environmental Impacts for Two Danish Off-Shore Wind Farms using the Complex Region Spatial Smoother (CReSS).
Monique Mackenzie, University of St Andrews
Animal numbers collected as a part of baseline monitoring and impact assessment studies are typically highly uneven across the survey area. Animal distribution data can also be patchy in terms of the temporal survey effort in the area, particularly when weather/logistics preclude servicing the experimental design originally planned. Some of these renewables sites can also have complex topography which excludes animals from particular areas (e.g. marine mammals and islands) or may contain areas which the animals avoid (e.g. sea birds and large areas of land). Data of this sort also typically contain complex (e.g. highly nonlinear) relationships with the environmental covariates and across the spatial area. Additionally these data are typically correlated along transects (or within grid cells from vantage point studies) and the models fitted typically fall short in explaining this correlation due to lack of at least one of the important (dynamic) drivers of animal abundance (e.g. prey distribution). For this reason some of the pattern in the data remains unexplained by the model and this violates the critical ‘independent errors’ assumption of standard modelling techniques (e.g. Generalized Additive Models). For all of these reasons, any modelling methods used for such data ought to be able to accommodate all of these features in order to make reliable predictions and inference. The complex region spatial smoother (CReSS) is a recently developed spatially adaptive smoothing technique which is designed to model highly uneven distributions while respecting natural boundaries (e.g. land) relevant for the species of interest and can also deal with complex relationships between density and environmental covariates. Coupled with SALSA2D and Generalized Estimating Equations (GEEs), this approach tackles model selection and spatio-temporal auto-correlation (e.g. along transects) which is invariably present in model residuals. Addressing this aspect of the modelling is crucial if any confidence intervals about differences pre/post installation(s) are to be believed and used for decision making. This methodology provides accurate predictions for species’ distributions across the surveyed area but as importantly, returns defensible predictions about any spatially explicit differences across the area pre/post installation(s). We present this methodology and its application to bird abundance and distribution for two large scale offshore wind farm examples in Denmark: Nysted and Rødsand II (using Long-tailed Duck Clangula hyemalis) and the Horns Rev 2 windfarm (using Common Scoter Melanitta nigra and Red-throated/Black-throated Diver Gavia stellate/arctica). The results clearly indicate significant decreases in bird numbers in and around the footprints of each wind farm and some redistribution within the survey area. These analyses were carried out using the recently developed, and now publicly available, MRSea package in R.
Development of a Spatio-Temporal Risk Assessment Methodology Applicable to the Marine Environment.
Andrew Gill, Cranfield University
Risk and uncertainty in environmental policy, regulation and consenting is a priority area for the marine renewable energy (MRE) sector and significant in decision making. The research presents a spatio-temporal analysis based method for assessing environmental risks within the marine environment for target species distribution in relation to local environmental change, such as that associated with marine renewable energy developments. The method focusses on data commonly used by decision-makers, but importantly includes consideration of the uncertainties associated with understanding the changes to a given environmental effector and species distribution. To set the scene an overview of the current state of risk within the MRE sector will be presented which identifies the methods used and highlights the knowledge limitations and gaps in understanding and applying risk assessment often encountered by practitioners regarding risk and uncertainty. An integrated and adaptive environmental risk assessment framework is put forward to improve understanding of risk and uncertainty across the UK MRE sector. To provide some of the necessary data to input into such a framework the proposed spatio-temporal risk assessment method for MRE development was developed which evolved from a project that applied climate change scenarios to the distribution of priority species. Within the climate change project a two-dimensional geospatial model was developed for species that are functionally important for demersal/ benthic ecosystems and have fisheries importance. The approach started through the climate change study and further developed for MRE represents a step towards a cumulative risk assessment methodology, which includes level of certainty. We envisage that future research will take forward this work to further incorporate different levels and type of impact and the associated change to the environmental risks. These issues also affect wider risk assessment and decision-making processes in the marine environment and as such the outputs may be applicable to a wider marine planning process.
Predicting Risk of Catastrophic Events at Marine Renewable Energy Sites.
John Horne, University of Washington
Marine Renewable Energy (MRE) projects involve risk. An important risk factor is the potential for interactions between marine mammals or fish aggregations and devices (e.g. tidal turbines, wave energy convertors) that may lead to a catastrophic impact. Objectives of operation and environmental monitoring plans all include preventing catastrophic impacts between organisms and devices. Ideally, there would be analytic techniques that, based on local data, predict temporal windows when catastrophic impacts (i.e. extreme events) are likely to occur. These model predictions could then be used to define conditions of operating licenses, increase monitoring vigilance, modify operations, or curtail operations during high risk periods. We use a suite of methods to define thresholds of extreme events and then use Extreme Value Analysis (EVA) to model the periodicity of extreme events. Before the probability of an interaction can be calculated, it is imperative to determine the threshold of an extreme event. Conceptually this is a deviance from a measure of location or trend in an empirical data set or theoretical model. Three methods were applied to a baseline acoustic data set characterizing density of fish and macrozooplankton in Admiralty Inlet, Washington, USA to identify extreme events: Generalized Autoregressive Conditional Heteroskedasticity (GARCH) models, Scale-Averaged Wavelets (SAW), and Mean Residual Life (MRL) functions. GARCH models and SAW use peaks in temporal variability to identify extreme data points. We assume that high densities relative to the variability in series are associated with extreme biological interactions at MRE sites. Statistically significant deviations from GARCH models, which quantify localized variability as a function of the variability in the time series, are extreme events where the monitored variable(s) deviate from the variance structure of the series in the recent past. SAW also identify extreme events as significant deviations of localized variability, but uses localized deviations from the variability in the series, averaged across temporal scales. In a MRL function, if a Generalized Pareto Distribution (GPD) is assumed for extreme events and that mean values above a threshold are linearly related to the threshold, then discontinuities from linearity can be used to identify a threshold. Having identified thresholds using MRL, shape and scale parameters of the GPD for fish density were estimated by maximizing the log likelihood of the acoustic data. By using the GPD to model the probability of events beyond the threshold, the return period (i.e. mean time until an event at least as strong) of each observed value can be inferred. The GPD can also be used to extrapolate the return period for events more extreme than what was observed, analogous to predicting the amplitude of the “100 year flood.” From an MRE perspective, this approach can be applied to any environmental monitoring variable and when designing MRE components to predict the periodicity of catastrophic events.
Hybridean Wave Data (HebMEF Dissemination Event).
Arne Vögler, Lews Castle College
The Hebridean Marine Energy Futures (HebMEF) project’s overarching aim is to accelerate the commercialisation of wave energy converter (WEC) projects. To support the investment case a reliable yield forecast of planned developments is essential. High resolution spectral wave models are an important part in energy forecasting, either by providing direct information on the wave resource at a given site, or by providing detailed boundary data for small scale nested simulations using Boussinesq or CFD applications. During the setup, and also to prove the accuracy, of numerical wave resource models, measured wave data is used for calibration and validation. Good practice requires the use of different measured data sets from varying geographical locations for validation, than what was used for calibration of the models. This paper gives an overview of the wave data acquisition activities undertaken under the HebMEF programme between 2011 and 2014 at the north-west coast of the Isle of Lewis of the Outer Hebrides of Scotland. A data acquisition array of three floating wave measurement buoys and two submerged acoustic sensors was commissioned in intermediate and shallow water depths to successfully obtain time series displacement data together with fully directionally resolved spectral information for deployment periods of more than 12 consecutive months at a coastline with one of the most energetic wave power resources globally.
Investigating the Potential Effects of Wave Renewable Energy Devices on Seabirds (HebMEF Dissemination Event).
Kristy Lees, Environmental Research Institute
The Pentland Firth and Orkney waters is the first region to contain commercial-scale marine renewable energy sites in the UK, with a potential capacity to generate up to 1,600 MW. Breeding seabirds are central-place foragers and Scotland has many internationally important colonies. Wave and tidal technology is still in its infancy and with few opportunities to directly observe interactions between seabirds and devices in the field, the number of peer-reviewed papers assessing their impacts remains small. The Hebridean Marine Energy Futures project has provided a unique opportunity to monitor seabird interactions with the Pelamis wave energy converter (WEC) at the EMEC test facility off the West coast of Orkney. By combining spatially-explicit observational data with information on the marine environment and the location of devices at the EMEC test facility we explored the potential consequences of WECs for seabirds at both the individual and population level.