The Runde Environmental Centre (REC) is an international research station that provides an infrastructure for monitoring, conducting research on the environment and promoting sustainable technology for fisheries and energy production. Situated on Runde island, Norway, Runde Environmental Centre was opened in 2008 and offers a range of facilities including an exhibition space, a laboratory and meeting places for courses. Research at the Runde Environmental Centre marine station spans several disciplines, including meteorology, oceanography, marine pollution, seabird monitoring, marine biology, rocky shore monitoring, and renewable energy studies and testing.
Runde Environmental Centre is a regional Competence Centre for Marine Energy. Research, development and dissemination activities include facilitating testing&demo of marine renewable energy and energy storage devices, monitoring of environmental impacts and testing of antifouling solutions. The test facilities include two test sites with different exposure and depth, with two seabed cable connections and a distance between site and shore of <1 to 2-3 km. Depths in proximity: 0-100+ m; 700 m depth in adjacent fjord.
The facility Runde Miljøsenter, Runde, Norway is at 62,45°N, 06.3°E. Oceanic water. Small local port at the island. Nearest DW ports are in Fosnavaag and Ulstein, 10 km away. Nearest city: Aalesund, big fishing port and NTNU campus, 25 km away.
Under the Norwegian Offshore Energy Act (2009), marine licensing for tidal and wave energy technologies with > 1000 Volt connection is undertaken by the Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Directorate (NVE) on behalf of the Ministry of Oil and Energy (OED). Smaller projects are administered under the Coastal Authority Adm (Kystverket). There were recently opened 2 offshore areas for licence applications for wind power under the Offshore Energy Act. The Hywind/Tampen field (UK sector) was licenced under the older Energy act.
The following is a list of all wave clients at the centre:
- Developer Havkraft completed demonstration of the Powerpier plant at a site close to Runde in 2021. A follow-up demo is scheduled for 2023.
- REC is preparing for a demonstration of the German StEnSEa sub-sea energy storage plant, planned for 2023-2025, in a deep fjord near Runde: https://www.esig.energy/deep-sea-pumped-storage/
- Waves4Power WaveEL WEC buoy full-scale demonstrator was installed at Runde in February 2016, connected to the national power grid in June 2017 via new shore cable. The project achieved 12.000 hours of operation; 4.000 hours of electricity production. The upgraded WaveEl demonstrator is scheduled for relaunch at Runde in 2023.
- Seabased at the Maren site installed two linear generator Wave Energy Converters equipped with damping loads and connected to a submarine low voltage switchgear unit with a built-in transformer of 22kV output voltage, installed in June 2009. Terminated 2012. Cable to shore still in place, ready for a relaunch.
- SWECO/Oslo Energi tested their Smartmotor (Seahorse) WEC device at Runde in 2012.
Runde centre takes part in misc. International bodies such as ICES working groups, COST WECANET and the IEA.
Key Environmental Issues
Runde is an island on the northwest coast of Norway that includes four bird protection areas and one nature reserve supporting nationally endangered bird species such as Black-legged Kittiwake (Rissa tridactyla) and Common Guillemot (Uria aalge). Cliff-nesting birds dominate the wildlife on the island, and Runde regularly supports more than 120,000 breeding pairs. Birds feed largely on sand eel, on which Runde centre is conducting some pilot investigations in the area. The vegetation on the hillsides and the plateau of the island is dominated by open heathland, small freshwater ponds, and grassland, as well as mires that are very important for carbon storage and provide nesting sites for species such as the Great Skua (Stercorarius skua). There are no human settlements inside the protected areas, but the area is used for tourism, sheep grazing, scientific research, and seabird monitoring projects as SEAPOP (see post-installation monitoring).
In May 2013 Norway designated the area a Ramsar Site (Wetlands of International Importance) for important populations of breeding seabirds, covering Runde, its neighbouring islands Skjervøya and Grasøya and surrounding islets.
Source: Ramsar Sites Information Service. Available from: https://rsis.ramsar.org/ris/2164
Environmental Webpage: www.runde.no
Papers, Reports, Research Studies
- MAREANO physical environmental mapping program including data on depth and topography, bottom conditions, biological diversity, nature types/biotopes, and any pollution in the sediments of Norwegian coastal and marine areas – ongoing. Available from: https://mareano.no/en/maps-and-data
- SEAPOP bird monitoring program in Norway including results in Runde - ongoing. Available from: https://seapop.no/en/activities/key-sites/runde/
Baseline Assessment: Runde Environmental Centre
|Design and Methods
|Bathymetric mapping, geology, biology and chemistry mapping expedition as part of the Marine Grunnkart project. Providing bathymetry and backscatter data with better than 1x1 m resolution.
|Use of multibeam echosounders, video surveys and sampling of the seabed. Mapping tests with the use of autonomous vehicles: USVs (Unmanned Surface Vehicles), AUVs (Autonomous Underwater Vehicles) and small Remotely Controlled Vehicles (ROVs)
|Mapping the biology, habitat and population dynamics of herring in the strait. In collaboration with NIVA, Norwegian Institute for Water Research and the Marine Research Institute.
Pilot studies started on the sand eel population and dynamics. - Genetic samples for population determination. Samples taken during spawning season.
|Several methods were employed: 92 sediment samples by Box corer; Interviews with fishermen for historical occurrence, mapping of these areas; Fish data (height, weight, age, dry weight, abdominal filling and sex) registered and energy content estimated. Age composition is based on dissection and photography of otoliths in a stereomicroscope. The relationship between otolith length and fish size has been mapped.
|Mapping of grazing area for herring and other species important to seabird. Use of Research vessel from NTNU in Talesund in 2017.
Post-Installation Monitoring: Runde Environmental Centre
|Design and Methods
|Monitoring of the dramatic decline in several of the seabird populations, particularly Kittiwakes, Shags and Fulmars.
|In collaboration with the Institute of Marine Research and SEAPOP program.Breeding success, population change (%) and annual rate of change (%) monitoring reports including Runde.
|2019 results: Population change Pelagic species: 11% decrease in gannet, 2% decrease (stable) in Kittiwakes, 18% decrease in Puffin Coastal species, 35% decrease in eider.