A Funding Grant was awarded from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme to develop and validate an innovative tidal turbine control system, using the tidal turbine itself as a sensor, to deliver a step change improvement in turbine performance. This will demonstrate Effective Lifetime Extension in the Marine Environment for Tidal Energy (ELEMENT), driving the EU tidal energy sector to commercial reality. This document presents the foreseen environmental monitoring activities planned for the ELEMENT project at two locations representative of the tidal market.
Physical characterisation of conditions at sites is needed to optimise energy conversion and the turbine design. It is also required to inform the environmental impact assessment and relate ecological and biological information to physical conditions in order to understand and predict likely impacts. To date, the characteristics of the mean flow (e.g. speed, direction, current magnitude asymmetry, hydrokinetic resource) can be estimated from existing ADCP measurements. However, a comprehensive assessment of turbulence will require the deployment of a 5-beam ADCP. This will provide the consortium with turbulence dataset which is an essential input to properly conduct fatigue life prediction of the tidal turbine, using a stochastic inflow turbulence simulator. Innovative methodologies will be deployed at one test site to provide characterisations that will be further used in WP6 for the development of the behavioural model of the turbine.
The understanding of the influence of the installation and operation of marine renewable energy devices on marine socio-ecosystems is also key for MRE project consenting. But there are still some knowledge gaps regarding the potential environmental impacts, as they vary along time, across space and depend on the number and size of machines installed and sensitivity of the location. Most notably, there is still a lack of data/knowledge regarding the collision risk of marine megafauna with MRE devices, noise emitted by the devices, and the biocolonisation of devices. This report presents plans to develop ecological characteristics evidence databases and outlines the way gathered data will be used to adapt and feed into models, including the behavioural models developed in WP6 of the ELEMENT project and tools developed in the DTOceanPlus Horizon 2020 project.