The installation, presence, operation, and decommissioning of marine renewable energy (MRE) devices inevitably alters the surrounding ocean habitats. These changes may include direct effects on the benthos from the installation or removal of foundations and anchors, changes in community composition on and near devices, artificial reef effects, and indirect effects such as alteration of the food web or facilitation of non-native, invasive species dispersal. Although there is no expectation that MRE devices affect marine environments differently than other anthropogenic ocean uses, regulators and stakeholders continue to have questions about potential negative impacts to species and habitats from development. The objective here was to lay a path to advance toward risk retirement for potential habitat changes caused by MRE devices. Research studies and survey reports that inform our understanding of habitat changes were compiled into an evidence base, sorted into categories of effects, and evaluated by a group of international experts to assess potential risk to habitats and biota from small numbers of MRE devices, as well as to identify knowledge gaps. These gaps were organized by category and divided up by relevance to consenting, research, or project development and monitoring responsibilities. Identifying these “known unknowns” allows for study design and collaboration from various perspectives to fill the knowledge gaps. Distribution of the evidence base and remaining uncertainties and knowledge gaps to the MRE community, coupled with new research, will help advance the MRE industry while resolving concerns about the potential risks of habitat change for small numbers of devices.