The U.S. Department of Energy (US DOE) has mobilized its National Laboratories to address the broad range of environmental effects of ocean and river energy development.
The National Laboratories are using a risk-based approach to set priorities among environmental effects, and to direct research activities. Case studies will be constructed to determine the most significant environmental effects of ocean energy harvest for tidal systems in temperate estuaries, for wave energy installations in temperate coastal areas, wave installations in sub-tropical waters, and riverine energy installations in large rivers.
In addition, the National Laboratories are investigating the effects of energy removal from waves, tides and river currents using numerical modelling studies. Laboratory and field research is also underway to understand the effects of electromagnetic fields (EMF), acoustic noise, toxicity from anti-biofouling coatings, effects on benthic habitats, and physical interactions with tidal and wave devices on marine and freshwater organisms and ecosystems.
Outreach and interactions with stakeholders allow the National Laboratories to understand and mitigate for use conflicts and to provide useful information for marine spatial planning at the national and regional level.