Annex IV is an international collaborative project to examine the environmental effects of marine energy devices among countries through the International Energy Agency’s Ocean Energy Systems Initiative (OES). The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) serves as the Operating Agent for the Annex, in partnership with the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM; formerly the Minerals Management Service), the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), and National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
Numerous ocean energy technologies and devices are being developed around the world, and the few data that exist about the environmental effects of these technologies are dispersed among countries and developers. The purpose of Annex IV is to facilitate efficient government oversight of the development of ocean energy systems by compiling and disseminating information about the potential environmental effects of marine energy technologies and to identify methods of monitoring for these effects. Beginning in 2010, this three-year effort produced a publicly available searchable online database of environmental effects information (Tethys). It houses scientific literature pertaining to the environmental effects of marine energy systems, as well as metadata on international ocean energy projects and research studies. Two experts’ workshops were held in Dublin, Ireland (September 2010 and October 2012) to engage with international researchers, developers, and regulators on the scope and outcomes of the Annex IV project. Metadata and information stored in the Tethys database and feedback obtained from the two experts’ workshops were used as resources in the development of this report.
This Annex IV final report contains three case studies of specific interactions of marine energy devices with the marine environment that survey, compile, and analyze the best available information in one coherent location. These case studies address 1) the physical interactions between animals and tidal turbines; 2) the acoustic impact of marine energy devices on marine animals; and 3) the effects of energy removal on physical systems. Each case study contains a description of environmental monitoring efforts and research studies, lessons learned, and analysis of remaining information gaps. The information collected through the Annex IV effort and referenced in this report, can be accessed on the Tethys database at http://tethys.pnnl.gov/.