This Project-specific Environmental Report and Environmental Monitoring Plan (PEMP) will support the Marine Licence application of the Belgian wave energy developer Laminaria NV. Laminaria will install their first full-scale Wave Energy Converter (WEC) at the wave energy test site Billia Croo of the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) in August 2018.
The WEC consists of a buoyant Power Take Off (PTO) system (the main floater) and will be connected by four individual mooring lines to a variable buoyancy gravity base anchor. The mooring lines will transfer the main floater movements towards the PTO systems located at the bottom of the floater to convert the incident wave energy to electricity.
This document will give an overview of the environmental conditions of and around the Billia Croo wave energy test site to provide a base for the identification of potential environmental impacts of the WEC (main floater and anchor) during the deployment period. This information includes details about the existing marine species, occurrences regarding the periods of the year, benthos and existing protected sites around Billia Croo.
Potential environmental impacts of the WEC have been identified during the Environmental Appraisal process. In order to decrease or manage these potential impacts, monitoring and mitigation measures have been established. The main potential impact identified is the disturbance of marine wildlife due to underwater noise and vibration produced by the WEC and the mobilisation of marine vessels. Due to the WEC’s design, the time required for installation and decommissioning is drastically reduced. The WEC can be installed during one day by the utilisation of one small work vessel and one multi-cat vessel. Due to these marine vessels and the short on-site time required for the installation of the WEC, potential environmental impacts are reduced.
To identify the potential environmental impacts of the WEC occurring during the deployment period at EMEC, several monitoring equipment will be deployed to gain a greater understanding of the device’s interaction with the environment. These include: noise sensor, camera, temperature, load, water ingress, electrical and GPS monitoring. Additional mitigation measures will be identified for future deployment projects.