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 7: Changes in Oceanographic Systems Associated with Marine Renewable Energy Devices here.
The movement of ocean water defines the physical and biological systems within which marine organisms and habitats exist. The deployment of MRE devices has the potential to affect oceanographic systems, causing changes in water circulation, wave heights, and current speeds, which in turn can affect sediment transport and water quality, within both nearfield and farfield environments around MRE devices. While a small number of MRE devices will not result in changes that are measurable relative to the natural variability of the system, larger-scale array deployments may have the potential to disrupt natural processes driven by tides, waves, and ocean currents, as indicated by numerical modeling efforts.
To date, few field studies have measured the effects on oceanographic systems of the small number of MRE devices deployed, because the potential changes are unlikely to be measurable. Laboratory flume studies are being used to understand wake recovery and turbulence due to tidal energy extraction, which can support our understanding of potential effects. Until large arrays are deployed and field measurements are collected, numerical models provide the greatest insight into the potential effects of MRE deployment on oceanographic systems. However, additional field data are needed to validate these models.
The Short Science Summary for the chapter is available here.