The OES-Environmental 2020 State of the Science Report: Environmental Effects of Marine Renewable Energy Development Around the World builds on and serves as an update and a complement to the 2013 Final Report for Phase 1 of OES-Environmental and the 2016 State of the Science Report. Its content reflects the most current and pertinent published information about interactions of marine renewable energy (MRE) devices and associated infrastructure with the animals and habitats that make up the marine environment. It has been developed and reviewed by over 60 international experts and scientists from around the world as part of an ongoing effort supported by the OES collaboration that operates within the International Technology Cooperation Framework of the International Energy Agency (IEA).
The 2020 State of the Science Report consists of 14 chapters which can be downloaded as a whole or individually. Download Chapter 1: Marine Renewable Energy and Ocean Energy Systems here.
MRE includes the harvesting of energy produced by ocean waves, tides, and currents, along with ocean temperature and salinity gradients, and the flow of large rivers (which use technologies similar to those that capture tidal energy). This report focuses on the potential environmental effects of the generation of power from waves using wave energy converters (WECs), tides using tidal turbines, and large rivers using river turbines. Lessons learned from other offshore industries, including offshore wind, oil and gas, and power and communication cables, are included, when appropriate.
The 2020 State of the Science report was produced by the Ocean Energy Systems (OES)-Environmental initiative (formerly Annex IV), under the International Energy Agency’s OES-Environmental collaboration. Under OES-Environmental, 15 counties have collaborated to evaluate the “state of the science” of the potential environmental effects of MRE development and to understand how these potential effects affect consenting/permitting (hereafter consenting) of MRE devices.
The information reviewed and synthesized for this report relates to the potential risks that MRE devices pose to marine animals, habitats, and the environment and can be of value to MRE stakeholders including researchers, regulators, device and project developers, and others. The body of knowledge presented in this report can inform science-based decision-making for international regulators, and support developers in project siting, engineering design, operational strategies, and monitoring program design. Most particularly, this report should help the research community connect with the latest thinking about MRE interactions, find likely collaborators, and assist with adding to the growing body of knowledge. When used in conjunction with site-specific information, this report can help streamline the consenting of MRE devices. While most monitoring activity around MRE devices is limited to single devices or very small arrays, much of this research and monitoring will be useful as the industry grows. The information synthesized in the 2020 State of the Science report represents the state of knowledge derived from studies and monitoring, built on publicly available peer-reviewed scientific literature and reports published by researchers, developers, and government agencies, and seen through the lens of many of the best researchers in the field. The analyses and conclusions drawn in this report are not meant to take the place of site-specific analyses or studies used to make project siting decisions or to direct consenting actions.