The SafeWAVE project aims to improve the knowledge on the potential environmental impacts from Wave Energy (WE) projects. In the project scope, Work Package 2 aims to collect, process, analyse, and share environmental data related to four priority areas of research: i) Electromagnetic Fields (EMF), ii) Acoustics (noise), iii) Seafloor integrity, and iv) Fish communities.
The Deliverable 2.1 (Vinagre et al., 2021) represented the first phase for the fulfilment of the objectives above, namely developing the planification of the monitoring plans for each area of research, to be implemented at three marine renewable energy (MRE) test sites where different types of wave energy converters (WECs) are installed: in Portugal, HiWave-5; in Spain, Penguin II; and in France, WAVEGEM.
The aim of Task 2.2 and the present deliverable (D2.2) is to present the main findings from EMF monitoring surveys conducted. At present, none of the WECs considered initially for the EMF surveys could be monitored due to different reasons (delays in the installation of HiWave-5 device in Aguçadoura, Portugal, unexpected removal of Penguin II due to maintenance and repair operations in BiMEP, Spain, and no connection of WAVEGEM device to the grid in SEMREV, France). Instead, and as a mitigation measure, the EMF generated by a floating wind turbine prototype – FLOATGEN – which was operational at one of the test sites (SEMREV) was monitored. Although it is a floating wind technology, aspects such as EMF could be studied around this technology and be comparable to the EMF produced by wave energy devices. This prototype is connected by an umbilical cable to an offshore collection hub which is then connected by an export cable to an onshore substation. Overall, results indicate low power production by the device during the 2-day EMF survey, leading to low EMF values which, according to the literature, should not represent significant impact to marine life.
This report will be updated with the results obtained for the monitoring of the HiWave5 device in Portugal, which should provide further insight on EMF levels generated by WECs. All monitoring results will then be used in Task 3.1 for the modelling of EMF considering greater power production and the installation of large arrays of devices.