The MaREE project was led and coordinated by the ERI and aimed to explore the environmental issues related to marine renewable energy development in the Highlands and Islands and socio-economics internal to the region. The programme sought to build on existing expertise in marine environmental sciences and the unique resource potential of the region in order to develop an integrated, holistic understanding of the environmental considerations surrounding marine renewable energy development in Scotland.
The funding package secured allowed procurement of £450,000 of instrumentation and equipment to support research activities including directional wave buoys, lander and moorings, shore station for data relay, fleet of drifting acoustic hydrophones, underwater speaker system, 'quiet' mesocosm facility, imaging sonar, RoV, sidescan and multibeam systems. Both ERI and SAMS already operated coastal survey vessels.
European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), Scottish Funding Council, Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE).
Location of Research
Highlands & Islands of Scotland
MaREE aimed to deliver and sustain a step change in capacity and quality in research across the UHI partnership and to establish research excellence in niche areas. The partnership between ERI and SAMS was based on an integrated collaborative programme across the three themes, each of which are outlined below.
Theme 1: Resource and Risk
- Tidal resource assessment
- Wave climate assessment
- Modelling device-environment physical interaction (including turbulence and array effects)
- Weather windowing (for installation and maintenance)
Satellite, radar, acoustics and buoys data were used and GIS and modelling approaches exploited throughout.
Theme 2: Environmental Impacts (SAMS / ERI)
- Ecological Study Design
- Marine acoustics and interaction of marine mammals and fish with devices (SAMS)
- Currents, sedimentation and associated ecological change (ERI / SAMS)
- Marine aggregation / disaggregation by accident and design (ERI / SAMS)
- Seabird interactions (ERI)
- Visual observations of benthic and pelagic communities (ERI / SAMS)
The proposal sought to build upon the long standing track record at SAMS on the environmental impacts of marine structures (oil and gas, artificial reefs and renewable energy devices) and current ERI activity with both the private and public sectors.
Theme 3: Towards sustainability management, policy and communities (ERI / SAMS)
- Marine policy / spatial planning (SAMS)
- Sustainable development (ERI / SAMS)
- Community engagement (ERI)