Tethys Stories

Tethys Stories feature information on news, events, research, and projects relevant to wind and marine renewable energy development activities across the globe. Stories are contributed from individuals working in the field, and provide insight into 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 dorian.overhus@pnnl.gov.

Author(s): Genevra Harker-Klimeš Date: January 24, 2017
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
Author(s): Elise DeGeorge Date: October 28, 2016
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
Author(s): Andrea Copping Date: October 14, 2016
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
Author(s): Andrea Copping Date: August 29, 2016
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
Author(s): Matthew Preisser Date: July 06, 2016
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
Author(s): Andrea Copping Date: June 02, 2016
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
Author(s): Nikki Sather Date: April 25, 2016
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
Author(s): Andrea Copping Date: April 04, 2016
A new addition to the Tethys platform is live supporting the international collaborative project WREN. WREN (Working Together to Resolve ENvironmental Effects of Wind Energy) is an initiative under the International Energy Agency (IEA) Wind Committee to address the environmental issues associated with the development of land-based and offshore wind energy projects.  Of particular interest to WREN and its collaborators is the need to better understand and resolve interactions between wildlife and wind turbines during installation and operational phases. WREN is led by the US and includes... Read More
Author(s): Nikki Sather Date: February 23, 2016
The Annex IV initiative, under the Ocean Energy Systems (OES) collaboration has released the 2016 State of the Science report on environmental effects of marine renewable energy development around the world. The draft report, released February 23, 2016 is available for public review and comment through March 18, 2016. Led by the US, thirteen OES countries have joined 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... Read More
Author(s): Kate Williams Date: October 29, 2015
Researchers are still learning about how offshore wind energy facilities affect marine ecosystems, but it is clear that the potential effects may vary during different development phases, and that species respond in a variety of ways. The scale of development is likely to be important in determining the significance of these effects, and physical and ecological context is essential for understanding and minimizing effects of offshore development on wildlife.   The mid-Atlantic Outer Continental Shelf supports large populations of marine wildlife year round, including marine species that... Read More


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