Developing a sustainable marine energy industry requires that devices be efficient, robust, and not harmful to biological and physical resources within the marine environment. In every nation exploring marine energy development, laws and regulations protect the marine environment and its resources as society strives to create a sustainable renewable energy source from the sea.
A team of scientists and engineers designed systems that are environmentally protective for harvesting energy from waves, tides, rivers, and ocean currents in the US. Regulatory requirements for baseline and post-installation monitoring were determined for seven devices deployed in four different environments. Studies triggered by regulatory needs were scoped and evaluated. The optimal assessment and monitoring pathways were identified, and costs were developed for siting, permitting (consenting), baseline assessment, and monitoring around marine energy devices, for single machines up to arrays of 100 MW. Feedback loops from the environmental siting team influenced the design and deployment parameters of certain devices. Similarly, close connection between the environmental and engineering teams provided estimates of the cost of energy produced by each device, providing a pathway towards costeffective deployment of marine energy arrays.