Several wave energy projects are being tested at sea and little information is available regarding the real impacts in the marine environment. The lack of knowledge regarding underwater noise radiated by wave energy devices raises concerns about the impact in the marine environment, mainly, the impact on species that rely on sound to survive. This paper aims to present the results of a study carried out to characterise the noise radiated by the WaveRoller (WR) device installed in Peniche, Portugal and to assess its potential impact on marine mammals occurring in the study area.
An acoustic campaign was carried out in September 2014. At the study site the only marine mammals occurring are cetaceans. The results indicate that the frequency ranges at which the device operates overlap those used by some low and midfrequency cetaceans. Only behavioural responses would be expected if the organisms swim near the WaveRoller. Cetaceans were not detected around the WaveRoller device probably because of the low depth where the device was installed.
To conclude, facing the lack of knowledge regarding the underwater noise radiated by wave energy devices this study brings a new contribution to the state of the art presenting the characterization of the underwater sound radiated by the WaveRoller, a totally submerged wave energy device.