Environmental Interactions of Marine Renewables (EIMR) 2018


Title: Environmental Interactions of Marine Renewables (EIMR) 2018
Kirkwall, Orkney, Scotland, UK
Date: April 24 - 27,
2018 UTC+01:00
Technology Type:


Environmental Interactions of Marine Renewables (EIMR) is an international conference series hosted across the Highlands and Islands of Scotland. Previous conferences in Kirkwall, Orkney (2012) and Stornoway, Lewis (2014) – hosted by Heriot-Watt University (HWU) and the University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI) – explored the interactions of wave and tidal energy technologies with the environment. Since then, wave and tidal testing and commercial deployments have progressed in Scotland and worldwide.


April 24, 2018

Session 1: Opening Session - Chair: Ian Davies


Marine renewable energy – meeting the expectations of the Highlands and Islands?

Magnus Davidson, University of the Highlands and Islands


Overcoming barriers to marine renewable energy development

Mikaela Freeman, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory


Rowing upstream: In search of the social impacts of marine energy

Rhys Howell, University of Edinburgh


Context setting for determining the impact of marine renewable energy developments: EMF as a potential stressor (or not)

Andrew Gill, PANGALIA Environmental



Session 2: Biofouling - Chair: Raeanne Miller


BioFREE: an international collaboration to assess the impacts of biofouling on the marine renewable energy industry

Andrew Want, Heriot-Watt University


Towards improving biofouling information within MRE environments

Nolwenn Quillienn, France Energies Marines


Effects of the marine environment on composite materials

George Bonheyo, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory



Session 3: Monitoring techniques and systems - Chair: Benjamin Williamson


Advancing multi-scale hydroacoustic monitoring in highly energetic environments: From fine-scale target tracking to top predator occupancy patterns in a tidal channel

Lilian Lieber, Queen's University Marine Laboratory


Development of the Adaptable Monitoring Package: past, present, and future

Brian Polagye, University of Washington


Real-time target classification using an integrated instrumentation package

Emma DeWitt Cotter, University of Washington


Optimisation of an underwater imagery analysis method to characterise the reef effect caused by submarine power cables on epibenthic communities

Bastien Taormina, France Energies Marines


Environmental measurements at the U.S. Navy's wave energy test site in Hawaii

Patrick Cross, University of Hawaii at Manoa


Development of an Ocean Energy Impact Monitoring System (DOEIMS)

Ian Hutchison, Aquatera Ltd



Session 4: Physical Processes - Chair: David Woolf


Can tidal stream turbines change the tides in the Pentland Firth, and is there an acceptable limit?

Rory O'Hara Murray, Marine Scotland Science


Evaluating environmental impacts of tidal energy extraction using a transport time scale approach

Zhaoqing Yang, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory


Tidal modulation of Impact wave farm on sediment transport and morphodynamics

Qingping Zou, Heriot-Watt University


The distribution of turbulent mixing around a tidal energy test site

Charles Greenwood, University of the Highlands and Islands


Assessing the impact of rows of tidal-stream turbines on the overtides of the M2

Dan Potter, Lancaster University



April 25, 2018

Session 5: Long Term Change - Chair: Elva Bannon


The impact of sea-level rise and coastal protection construction on the tidal energy of San Francisco Bay

Roger Wang, University of Dundee


Comparative effects of climate change and tidal stream energy extraction in the NW European continental shelf

Michela De Dominicis, National Oceanography Centre


Effects of large scale tidal energy extraction on benthic habitats

Michael Bell, Heriot-Watt University


Assess the ecological cost/benefit of very large scale tidal energy extraction vs future climate change using joint modelling of mobile marine predators and their prey

Beth Scott, University of Aberdeen


Predicting changes to Scottish Nature Conservation MPA connectivity due to tidal energy device arrays and climate change

Hannah Millar, Heriot-Watt University and Marine Scotland Science



Session 6: Collisions: Models, Real Behavior and Trade-offs - Chair: Beth Scott


Relevant UK Research Council activities: an update

Deborah Greaves, University of Plymouth


Risk of whale encounters with offshore renewable energy mooring lines and electrical cables

Andrea Copping, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory


Integrating empirical data with probability distributions from a numerical 4-D model to assess marine mammal collision risk with marine renewable energy devices

Ross Culloch, Marine Scotland Science


Improving our predictions of collision risk for marine mammals and tidal turbines - towards a better understanding of the most critical factors

Carol Sparling, SMRU Consulting Europe


Experimental determination of a mortality threshold for collisions between marine megafauna and tidal turbines

Joseph Onoufriou, Scottish Oceans Institute


Good noise, bad noise: a tricky case of balancing risk of physical injury against acoustic disturbance for marine mammals & tidal energy devices

Ben Wilson, Scottish Association for Marine Science (SAMS)



Session 7: Learning From Test Sites - Chair: George Lees


Understanding wildlife displacement using data from real-sea testing of wave and tidal devices

Caitlin Long, European Marine Energy Centre


Ecological interactions with a marine renewable energy installation in a temperate ecosystem

Matthew Witt, University of Exeter


Baited underwater video systems to assess the impact of man-made infrastructure at sea: a case study for scale, time and statistical power

Anthony Bicknell, University of Exeter


Environmental monitoring on the SEM-REV sea test site (Nantes - French Atlantic coast)

Marine Reynaud, Centrale Nantes


Environmental effects from wave power generators to local fish and macro crustacean communities

Anke Bender, Uppsala University


The case for small tidal energy conversion in the Bras d'Or Lake UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia

Bruce Hatcher, Cape Breton University



Session 8: Observing Prey and Predators in Currents - Chair: Brian Polagye


Relating fish density with hydrodynamics at a tidal energy site

Anna Redden, Acadia University


Pilot observations of fish behaviour around an operating hydrokinetic test turbine

Olivia Langhamer, Chalmers University of Technology


Predictable changes in fish school behaviour due to a tidal turbine structure

Benjamin Williamson, University of Aberdeen


Passive acoustic monitoring to determine fine scale three- dimensional density, foraging rates and behaviour of cetaceans in tidal rapid habits

Jamie Macaulay, University of St Andrews


Passive acoustic monitoring of cetacean movement around operational tidal turbines

Douglas Gillespie, University of St Andrews


Three-dimensional movements of harbour seals in a tidally energetic channel: development of a dual multibeam sonar system

Gordon Hastie, University of St Andrews



April 26, 2018

Session 9: Animal-Machine Close Encounters? - Chair: Ben Wilson


Electromagnetic fields (EMFs) from a buried HVDC cable and the effect on migratory and electro-sensitive species

Zoë Hutchison, Cranfield University


Investigating the foraging habitat of black guillemots in relation to tidal stream turbines

Daniel Johnston, University of the Highlands and Islands


Spatially explicit tools for the assessment of potential impacts of marine renewables on breeding seabirds

Jared Wilson, Marine Scotland Science


Use of fish tracking data to estimate the probability of fish encountering a marine hydrokinetic turbine

Brian Sanderson, Acadia University


Using animal tag data to parameterise collision risk models: the importance of sampling rate

Laura Palmer, University of St Andrews


Harbour seals avoid tidal turbine noise: implications for collision risk

Gordon Hastie, University of St Andrews



Session 10: Innovative Monitoring Tools and Techniques - Chair: Caitlin Long


Regional and seasonal scale-studies into seabird use of coastal environments: abundant and diverse communities consistently associate with moderate and complex currents

Bregan Brown, Bangor University


Recent investigations into the marine migration of salmon smolts in the context of marine renewable development

Ross Gardiner, Marine Scotland Science


Effects of wave energy extraction on intertidal species of extremely exposed rocky shores

Michael Bell, Heriot-Watt University


Porpoise displacement at different noise levels during construction of an offshore windfarm

Isla Graham, University of Aberdeen


Possible positive long term effects on harbour porpoise from a large scale offshore renewable energy zone in the Southern North Sea

Bob Rumes, Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences


Monitoring the environmental interactions of tidal devices - how do we achieve what is required in a practical and cost effective manner whilst retaining focus on the key issues to assist the consenting of future projects?

Liz Foubister, Xodus Group Limited



Session 11: Differing Perspectives Working Towards a Common Goal - Chair: Andrea Copping


Panel Session with Andrea Copping, Ian Davies, George Lees, Gareth Davies, Liz Foubister and Beth Scott



Session 12: Sustainable Ore: Planning and Management - Chair: Annie Linley


Developing a streamlined consenting process at a tidal test site

Caitlin Long, European Marine Energy Centre


Multiple maritime uses in European seas: findings from the MUSES project

Andronikos Kafas, Marine Scotland Science


Offshore energy planning provisions and transnational maritime spatial planning in the North Sea region: findings from the NorthSEE project

Kirsty Wright, Marine Scotland Science


Assessing the cumulative effects of marine renewable energy installations in multi-user marine environments

Edward Willsteed, Cranfield University


Adaptive management to inform wave and tidal development: a Scottish perspective

Finlay Bennet, Marine Scotland Science



Orkney wave resources: predicted changes from 2010 to 2100

Simon Waldman, Marine Scotland Science/ Heriot-Watt University

Climate change and its influence on future ocean wave conditions have been investigated for various regions of the globe. To the authors’ knowledge such studies have yet to be conducted for Orkney waters, yet with 600MW of wave power capacity proposed in the area it is important to understand how the available resource will change. Venugopal and Nemalidinne, (2015) and Venugopal et al., (2017) recorded the development and validation of a spectral wave model of the North Atlantic for the purpose of assessing wave energy resource on the coast of Scotland. In this work we describe modification of this model to anticipate the effects of future climate, by adjusting the surface wind forcing. This adjustment was based on the changes in wind speeds that are predicted by a CMIP5 general circulation model under the RCP8.5 scenario. Predicted changes to the wave environment of Scottish inshore waters will be reported, and implications for wave energy discussed.


Modelling fishing effort displacement as a result of offshore renewable energy developments in Scotland

Andronikos Kafas, Marine Scotland Science

The introduction of a new marine activity in Maritime Spatial Planning often imposes spatial restrictions on existing users. Spatial overlap between emerging offshore renewable energy developments in Scotland and commercial fishing activity impedes access to traditional fishing grounds. Consequently, fishermen may re-allocate (displace) their fishing effort to alternative sea areas with lower profits and/or less reliability in catches. The potential for fishing effort displacement is a significant concern amongst stakeholders and has a range of economic, social and environmental effects on individual fishers and coastal communities. Understanding how emerging uses, such as the development of a new offshore energy site, can affect other existing activities, such as fisheries, through partial or full exclusion from an area, including the knock-on impacts of displacement, is essential for making sound planning and licensing decisions and developing effective mitigation strategies. To explain fishing effort patterns, this study develops a hierarchical spatio-temporal Bayesian model for fishing effort distribution, based on multi-year spatio-temporal data for Scottish fishing vessels (VMS data). Then the model is used to predict the reallocation patterns of fishing effort due to area closures. We use a spatial point process model that contains a Gaussian Markov Random Field, approximated through the Stochastic Partial Differential Equations approach, to account for autocorrelation that covariates cannot explain. The model is fitted with the Integrated Nested Laplace Approximation algorithm. The model accurately explains fishing effort patterns and predicts changes in space (approx. 5 km2) and time (annually) in response to area closures from offshore wind farms. The study helps evaluate economic impacts on the fishing fleet and environmental impacts from different layout options and as a result aid commercial fisheries mitigation. The model can be easily transferable to other fisheries management interventions resulting in area closures, hence providing a powerful analytical tool for fisheries management.


Drifting acoustic instrumentation for marine energy

Brian Polagye, University of Washington

Unlike many other potential environmental risks for marine energy (e.g., collision, entanglement), the acoustic stressor from wave and current energy converters can be readily quantified. This requires instrumentation systems capable of operating in energetic waves and currents and obtaining measurements in which propagating sound is masked by neither flow-noise nor self-noise. However, once such measurements have been acquired, it can be difficult to ascribe acoustic events to a marine energy converter. The Drifting Acoustic Instrumentation SYstem (DAISY) is being developed to address these considerations. Each DAISY consists of a surface expression with position tracking, coupled, via a suspension system, to a submerged element with a hydrophone and ancillary sensors (e.g., orientation, pressure). In waves, the suspension system is a mass-spring-damper that isolates the hydrophone from surface motion in a manner analogous to a sonobuoy. In currents, the suspension system is simpler, consisting of a combination of static and dynamic line, but the hydrophone is enclosed by a flow-shield that also acts as a drag element to minimize relative velocity between the submerged element and surrounding water. Data streams in the surface expression and submerged element are integrated by microcomputers which synchronize the data streams and allow the condition health of a DAISY to be monitored throughout a field deployment. Machine learning will be used in post processing to isolate acoustic events, and long baseline localization using data from multiple DAISYs will be able to identify their source. Field experiments that demonstrate the self-noise and flow-noise reductions achieved by the DAISY relative to earlier variants of drifting instrumentation systems are shown. Finally, the applicability of drifting acoustic measurement systems to meet draft international standards will be summarized.


Underwater noise from the PLAT-O tidal turbine platform

Denise Risch, Scottish Association for Marine Sciences (SAMS)

Tidal-stream energy devices will introduce underwater noise into the environment, the magnitude of which is of particular interest because of the potential effects on acoustically sensitive species such as marine mammals and fish. Thus, acoustic emissions of these devices need to be assessed in terms of their potential negative impact, as well as a means for device detection for collision avoidance in these often naturally noisy environments. Using drogue-mounted, drifting hydrophones, underwater noise (10Hz to 78kHz) was recorded during tests of the PLAT-O tidal platform fitted with two 50kW SIT SCHOTTEL Instream turbines. The rotors of each three bladed horizontal axis turbine was 5m diameter. During trials at a test site off the Isle of Wight in 2015 with both turbines operating, stepwise frequency- modulated tonal signals with most energy between 1 and 2.5kHz, but extending as low as 200Hz were recorded. At a median distance of 280m sound pressure levels (SPL dB re 1 μPa) in the dominant third- octave bands (1-2.5kHz) were elevated by as much as 10-15dB compared to baseline ambient noise levels. At lower frequencies (200-400Hz) noise levels were about 2-5dB over ambient noise levels. Recordings at different ranges from the platform indicated that at a distance of about 500-600m noise levels emitted by the turbines may be expected to be equal to or below ambient noise levels in this environment. Potential impacts and detection of this device by marine species will thus likely be at least up to a couple of hundred metres from the source. Since there was little ancillary information available on the mechanical operation of the turbines being tested during this experiment the data reported here are preliminary and future acoustic measurements of these turbines deployed at PLAT-I, the successor of the PLAT-O platform, are currently underway.


Environmental monitoring, modelling and forecasting for instream tidal energy development at the FORCE test site

Richard Karsten, Acadia University

Canada has in the Bay of Fundy one of the world's richest tidal resources and a world- leading test site for large grid-connected in-stream tidal turbines. But decisions regarding the development and regulation of the tidal energy industry are hindered by a lack of scientific evidence related to animal/turbine interactions and flow variability. The primary goal of the research planned for 2018-2023 is to address the two challenges facing tidal energy development: the impact of the environment on turbines and the impact of turbines on the environment. Both require a highly integrated suite of field work infrastructure that will quantify the high-flow, dynamic environment of Minas Passage, including measuring flow velocities, mapping the sea bottom, detecting the presence of marine mammals, tracking fish and monitoring the noise generated by turbines. Both challenges also require substantial computing infrastructure to conduct high-resolution numerical simulations and to analyze the large quantities of collected data.  Field projects will utilize robotic watercraft, drifting buoys and a rigid-inflatable boat, all outfitted with acoustic devices to measure flow speed, turbulence, underwater noise and seabed change, and drones to provide video aerial imagery. State-of-the-art, fish-tracking technology and imaging sonars will collectively give a detailed picture of how fish and marine mammals interact with turbines. Together, the system will quantify and map the spatial distribution of turbulence, noise and marine animals at the FORCE test site. To complement the field work, high-end computing infrastructure will be used to run simulations of turbines operating in the turbulent flow field, to generate accurate ocean forecasts necessary for marine operations and to simulate the impact of commercial-scale turbine arrays on marine life.


Past Events in the Series

  • Environmental Interactions of Marine Renewables (EIMR) 2014, Stornoway, Scotland, UK, April 30 20:00 - May 1 20:00 2014 UTC+0000
  • Environmental Interactions of Marine Renewables (EIMR) 2012, Orkney, Scotland, UK, April 30 8:00 - May 4 17:00 2012 UTC+0100
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