This document serves as the Final Report (Draft) for National Oceanographic Partnership Program project number M10PC00097, Developing Environmental Protocols and Modeling Tools to Support Ocean Renewable Energy and Stewardship. This document presents a summary of the findings of this project, and summarizes each of the individual reports completed as part of this project.
Offshore renewable energy (ORE) development is the construction and operation of one or more devices designed to harness power from the marine environment (wind, tidal, and wave power considered here), and includes any necessary infrastructure, including subsea cables, the vessels necessary to construct or install an ORE development, and the footprint of a project.The motivation for this work was to provide BOEM and the nation with a comprehensive, yet flexible and tested means of making efficient and balanced assessments regarding the impacts of a broad range of ORE projects on marine and human ecosystems. With these tools, BOEM will have the capacity to proactively and comprehensively manage ocean renewable energy resources and implement adaptive management techniques for the benefit of natural and human ecosystems and the nation. The goal of this particular project was to develop and test standardized protocols for baseline studies and monitoring for the collection and comparison of scientifically valid and comparable data for specific ORE issues, which seamlessly integrate with a newly designed conceptual framework and approach for cumulative environmental impact evaluation of ORE development. This goal consists of two objectives, addressed by the following reports:
Objective 1: Develop and test standardized protocols for baseline studies and monitoring for the collection and comparison of scientifically valid and comparable data for specific ORE issues;
- Task 1.2: Report on Monitoring the Potential Effects of Offshore Renewable Energy
- Task 1.3: A Comprehensive Review and Critique: Existing U.S and International Monitoring Protocols for Offshore Renewable Energy Development and Other Marine Construction
- Task 1.4: Standardized Protocols for Assessing the Effects of Offshore Alternative Energy Development on Cultural Resources
- Task 1.5: Developing Standardized Protocols and Monitoring
Objective 2: Develop a conceptual framework and approach for cumulative environmental impact evaluation of ORE development, as part of a larger framework for a site evaluation tool for decision makers;
- Task 2.3: Report on the Framework for Cumulative Impact Evaluation
The timeline of completion for these Tasks followed a logical progression from understanding the basic environmental concerns related to ORE developments (Task 1.2), to evaluating current monitoring standards (Task 1.3), to developing new U.S. standards for monitoring ecological and cultural resources (Task 1.4 and Task 1.5, respectively), and finally, to developing a site evaluation and impact assessment tool (Task 2.3).
The body of work undertaken for this project meets an urgent need to bring consistency to ORE data collection, provide comparability across state and federal ORE projects, and help coastal managers apply these data to make better management decisions and to better understand the cumulative impacts. This effort involved the collaboration and input from scientists, regulators, industry and non-government environmental organizations in the U.S. and Europe.
Summaries of the objectives and the findings of each of these reports follow. For a more complete understanding of each of these products, the reader is encouraged to view the full reports.