The project aims to design, build and validate a generic high performance, cost-efficient and reliable PTO that can be integrated into oscillating wave surge converter (OWSC) designs and therefore massively deployed by the global energy sector. Environmental and socioeconomic aspects will be studied by WavEC through Life Cycle Assessment performances and the development of an EIA decision making tool.
European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme
Location of Research
1. To develop a standard method for Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for wave energy projects.
2. Performance of a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) to support decision making through a comparative analysis between different designs.
Task 5.4 is currently in progress: Environmental and socio-economic aspects (lead: WavEC, contributors: AWE, SINTEF) In this task the methods developed under task 2.5 for the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and the Socio-Economic Impact Assessment (SEIA) will be applied to the final design of the MegaRoller device. The key effects identified will be prioritised and monitoring activities will be listed for those specific effects on both the marine environment and socio-economy. This task will re-use the experience from both the environmental monitoring activities and the public engagement/consultation activities carried out during previous WaveRoller testing periods in Portugal. A report will be produced with these results. Further on, a method will be delineated to plan and schedule monitoring activities in marine renewable energy sites, considering the following criteria: nature of the key environmental and socio-economic effects (overlap of the project with other marine uses or activities) identified, site physical features and sensitivities and project characteristics. The methodology steps will then be part of a tool, which will be developed considering all previous criteria (multi-criteria analysis) to decide on best monitoring activities schedule and methods to optimize time and costs. The tool will then be applied to the new MegaRoller device and its possible locations as the main inputs to validate the methodology and the tool. The validation of the tool will enable its application to any other near-shore wave energy project, provided that site specific data is available. Once MegaRoller has been validated in tasks 5.1-5.3, the LCA application version developed under Task 2.5 will be adjusted to the final design version of the MegaRoller device and the results compared with other marine renewable energy technologies as well as the other traditional means of generating electricity (i.e. using fossil fuels) as performed in Task 2.5. The final LCA of the MegaRoller device will be developed through the use of the LCA software package SimaPro.
WP2: Design - Task 2.5 – Environmental and socio-economic acceptance
An LCA was carried out for an early design of the device, proving the results are aligned with all previous studies on MRE technologies in concluding the main environmental impacts are due to materials use and manufacture, while Assembly & Installation and O&M do not show significant impacts. The impact of manufacture is mainly due to high amounts of material used, particularly steel. End-of-Life stage is currently excluded from operational boundaries of the majority of MRE developments and its inclusion in eco-design initiatives is challenged by uncertainties on a temporal, technological and business level such as uncertainties regarding recycling ratios. Additionally, this report corroborated with previous LCAs on ocean energies by proving the importance of the End-of-Life scenario to the overall environmental performance and highlighted the need for further efforts to better understand how to model this stage.
A methodology for an EIA tool currently under development has been elaborated under this task. In order to incorporate information on device specificities and the natural sensitiveness of a site, a literature review was carried out including identification of impacts in similar nearshore installations on available EIA reports. The EIA tool aims to help the user decide on best monitoring techniques across all development phases through a stressor-receptor interaction approach. For each phase, identification of these interactions, or potential key effects, will result in impact matrixes – for biological, physical and socioeconomic receptors. After the identification of the most relevant key effects, the tool will recommend on best mitigation measures and monitoring techniques.