A one-day workshop (for an invited audience) was held in cooperation with Annex IV, ICIT Heriot Watt, ORJIP, ICOE 2016, Marine Scotland and MERIKA, and bought together the MRE community with the intent of furthering knowledge and standardizing approaches for monitoring and mitigation around MRE devices and arrays.
Theme 1: Biofouling
Theme Leader(s): University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI)
Lead Participant(s): Dr Jennifer Loxton (ERI, UHI), Dr Raeanne Miller (SAMS, UHI)
Summary: Submerged structures in the sea almost universally harbour communities of organisms growing on exposed surfaces, marine renewable energy devices included. This marine growth, or biofouling, is often unwanted from an engineering perspective, and can have serious consequences for the structural integrity, efficiency, and functioning of devices. Non-native species are also commonly found on man-made structures, making biofouling a risk for species invasions. At the same time, biofouling on submerged structures can serve to increase local biodiversity, with growth attracting animals to structures to seek food or shelter.
These contrasts make up the focus of this pre-ICOE workshop, where we will consider the positive and negative consequences of biofouling from both engineering and ecological perspectives. With representatives from both sectors, we aim to establish a balance of marine growth and marine growth removal/prevention which can minimise biofouling-related renewable energy device faults or failures while maximising the biodiversity and ecosystem benefits of a development. Such a balance could achieve substantial cost-saving within the industry, while highlighting and encouraging positive environmental outcomes.
Theme 2: Collision Risk
Theme Leader(s): Annex IV, Offshore Renewables Joint Industry Programme (ORJIP)
Lead Participant(s): Andrea Copping, Annex IV Technical Lead, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory; Ben Wilson, EIMR Steering Committee, University of Highlands and Islands, Scottish Association for Marine Science; Ian Hutchison, ORJIP Ocean Energy Secretariat Programme Manager, Aquatera Limited
Uncertainty regarding the potential for marine animal collisions with tidal turbines remains the greatest problem for consenting single turbines and arrays. Researchers, regulators, stakeholders and developers each has a set of contributions to make to resolving the issue, yet often those contributions are not well coordinated. The aim of this workshop is to develop a common understanding of this disconnect; to plan pathways for each group of participants to pursue after the workshop; and to set an agenda for future coordinated work that will bring the disparate understandings together.
Theme 3: Coexistence
Theme Leader(s): Heriot-Watt University
Lead Participant(s): Dr Sandy Kerr; Dr Mike Bell; Ms Rebecca Grieve
Much of the discourse around the fishing industry and marine renewables has been characterized by the word “exclusion” - a separation of activities on the grounds of practicality and safety. Many early consultations on marine energy quickly made the assumption that areas occupied by marine renewables would be given over to exclusive use. This default perspective has various origins, including presumptions that the sea is unoccupied or that there is space for people to ‘budge-up’. The reality is very different. Almost all coastal waters are subject to some fishing effort and ‘budging-up’ generally means moving into someone else’s space.
The possible relationships between the fishing and renewable industries in any shared space fall into three possible categories: (i) where both operate independently of each other; (ii) where the existence of one provides benefits to the other (e.g. the creation of artificial reefs and new habitat) or (iii) symbiotic relationships where there is a shared benefit. The aim for this workshop is to identify the opportunities of, and the barriers to, coexistence (University of the Highlands and Islands 2016).
- EIMR Conference: Environmental Interactions of Marine Renewables (EIMR) 2014, Stornoway, Scotland, UK, 30 April 2014