Changes in Flow
Wind and marine renewable energy devices create electricity by capturing natural mechanical energy and converting it to electricity. By removing or altering this energy, the physical environment may change. Wind turbines can alter wind speeds, air circulation, and potentially nearfield atmospheric interactions. Marine renewable energy devices can change the flow of water and may affect water quality parameters including dissolved oxygen and nutrients, wave height, sediment transport, and eventually marine food webs and ecosystem processes. Changes in flow can be theoretically modeled, but are unlikely to occur until extremely large numbers of devices are deployed. Even then, the implications of these changes are not well understood.
For more information relevant to marine energy, check out the Changes in Oceanographic Systems Short Science Summary produced by OES-Environmental.
Photo Credit: Alex Nimmo Smith