Tethys Stories

Tethys Stories are intended to feature information on news, events, research, and projects relevant to marine and wind energy development activities across the globe. Stories are contributed by a diversity of individuals working in the field, and are meant to highlight the big picture of advancing the energy industry in an environmentally responsible manner. If you are interested in providing content to be featured as a Tethys Story, please email jonathan.whiting@pnnl.gov.


Posted By: John King On: July 06, 2017 | 0 Comments
At the University of Rhode Island in the United States, a study of electromagnetic field (EMF) impacts on elasmobranchs and lobsters is currently being conducted. The contract is led by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management and the study aims to assess impacts of direct current (DC) cables on marine organisms. The study was prompted by the potential for the “Atlantic Wind Connection” venture, a high-capacity, lengthy DC cable supported by Google to connect all wind farms in the mid-Atlantic. To study the magnetic and electrical impacts on marine organisms from DC cables, two existing cables,... Read More
Posted By: Anna Redden, Haley Viehman, and Melissa Oldreive On: June 09, 2017 | 0 Comments
The Province of Nova Scotia has set an ambitious renewable energy production target of 40% by 2020.  One of the mechanisms to achieve this goal, initiated by the Province, was the creation of the Fundy Ocean Research Centre for Energy (FORCE) tidal turbine test facility in the Minas Passage, Bay of Fundy (http://fundyforce.ca).  The first of two commercial-scale tidal turbines (16 m diameter Open Hydro turbines) connected to the electrical grid were deployed in November 2016.  The effects of large commercial scale tidal energy development on fish are not yet well understood, but are of key... Read More
Posted By: Mikaela Freeman On: February 20, 2017 | 0 Comments
Adaptive management (AM) is a learning-based management approach that is used to reduce scientific uncertainty. AM has been identified as a tool to advance the wind energy industry, although its application in practice has been limited.  AM has primarily been actively implemented in the United States, while other nations have applied some of the principles of AM. Many wind energy projects use the mitigation hierarchy or the precautionary principle to guide development, both of which focus on mitigating or avoiding project-related risks or impacts. Overall, AM allows wind energy projects to... Read More
Posted By: Genevra Harker-Klimeš On: January 24, 2017 | 0 Comments
One of the key features of renewable energy generation is its benefit to the environment through developing low carbon power sources, so it’s important to develop new types of renewable energy in environmentally responsible ways.  Collecting and analyzing environmental data necessary for marine energy projects is difficult – the areas of interest are highly energetic, with (typically) little existing information, while the devices themselves do not have a long track record of deployment so there are high uncertainties in the possible effects.  The US Department of Energy has recognized the... Read More
Posted By: Elise DeGeorge On: October 28, 2016 | 0 Comments
Wind energy developers face challenges to gain public acceptance and necessary permits because of potential impacts on wildlife, especially birds and bats. As a result, developers may be required to monitor projects for the presence and abundance of both diurnal and nocturnal species, collect data on bird or bat collisions with turbines, and implement mitigation strategies that reduce fatalities, despite the fact that parameters for risk have not been adequately defined. Many of the data gathering requirements are best met with technologies mounted on or near wind turbines that can remotely... Read More
Posted By: Andrea Copping On: October 14, 2016 | 0 Comments
Annex IV and ORJIP-Ocean Energy has signed an agreement that will enhance collaboration and data sharing to understand and reduce uncertainty about potential environmental effects of MRE development.  Both organizations address issues that are challenging to the siting and permitting/consenting of wave and tidal projects.   Annex IV and ORJIP Ocean Energy plan to jointly develop and share strategic research needs and identify data gaps on environmental effects; to seek opportunities to convene expert groups and consultation processes to address environmental effects and reduce consenting/... Read More
Posted By: Andrea Copping On: August 29, 2016 | 0 Comments
As tidal energy development ramps up in Europe and North America, questions have been raised about the potential for turbine blades to strike marine mammals, fish, and other marine organisms. Less attention has been paid to potential threats to smaller planktonic organisms such as the larvae of fish, lobster, and the zooplankton that spend their lives floating in moving ocean water.  A small group of experts came together recently to explore whether larvae and zooplankton might be at risk from tidal turbines.   Lobster and fish larvae are most commonly buoyant and distributed by tidal... Read More
Posted By: Matthew Preisser On: July 06, 2016 | 0 Comments
The power of the tides can be harnessed either by placing turbines in the tidal stream or by taking advantage of the tidal range.  The height difference between the high and low tides can be captured by the placement of a tidal barrage – effectively a dam like those used in rivers – across the mouth of an estuary or bay.  Alternatively, the tidal range can be captured within a lagoon by building an encircling wall within a tidal bay or inlet.  Key examples of tidal barrages include one developed at La Rance in Brittany (northern France) in 1966, or the placement of turbines in a causeway at... Read More
Posted By: Andrea Copping On: June 02, 2016 | 0 Comments
Most people who spend time around the marine environment know that many species of fish are attracted to structures and hard surfaces in the ocean.  Imagine tropical fish flocking to coral reefs, salmon hiding out under piers, and fish attracted to navigation buoys.  The question has been posed as to whether fish will be attracted to marine energy devices placed in the ocean as well.  And if they are attracted, could tidal and wave devices pose a threat to these fish or their prey?   H. T. Harvey & Associates addressed this question in a 2015 report in which they evaluated the potential... Read More
Posted By: Nikki Sather On: April 25, 2016 | 0 Comments
The 2016 final report on environmental effects of marine renewable energy (MRE) around the world has been released by the Annex IV initiative. The 2016 State of the Science report was developed under the auspices of the 13 nations collaborating on Annex IV, an initiative under the Ocean Energy Systems.  Led by the US, the 13 Annex IV nations came together to assess the potential environmental effects of MRE development, collaboratively identify ways to address potential effects that hamper siting and consenting/permitting of devices, and facilitate the establishment of the MRE industry.   The... Read More

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