Marine wave and tidal energy technology could interact with marine resources in ways that are not well understood. As wave and tidal energy conversion projects are planned, tested, and deployed, a wide range of stakeholders will be engaged; these include developers, state and federal regulatory agencies, environmental groups, tribal governments, recreational and commercial fishermen, and local communities. Identifying stakeholders’ environmental concerns in the early stages of the industry’s development will help developers address and minimize potential environmental effects. Identifying important concerns will also assist with streamlining siting and associated permitting processes, which are considered key hurdles by the industry in the U.S. today.
In September 2008, RE Vision consulting, LLC was selected by the Department of Energy (DoE) to conduct a scenario-based evaluation of emerging hydrokinetic technologies. The purpose of this evaluation is to identify and characterize environmental impacts that are likely to occur, demonstrate a process for analyzing these impacts, identify the “key” environmental concerns for each scenario, identify areas of uncertainty, and describe studies that could address that uncertainty. This process is intended to provide an objective and transparent tool to assist in decision-making for siting and selection of technology for wave and tidal energy development. RE Vision worked with H. T. Harvey & Associates, to develop a framework for identifying key environmental concerns with marine renewable technology. This report describes the results of this study.