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Environmental Monitoring

Environmental Monitoring

MHK is a new use of the ocean. Because of this, there is uncertainty around its potential effects on marine environments and existing coastal industries. This uncertainty creates barriers to deployment and testing, and ultimately slows down the engineering and design cycle for new technologies.

PNNL supports DOE Water Power Technology Office efforts to address this through management and sharing of environmental information, development of new sensor technologies and environmental monitoring, and computational modeling studies to determine system-scale effects. When appropriate, through laboratory and field experiments to determine the relationships between MHK operations and species of concern.

PNNL environmental research has focused on acoustic impacts to fish and marine mammals, the effect of electromagnetic field from cables and devices, the potential for whales and marine mammals to entangle in mooring lines, and the impact of tidal power turbine blade strike on marine mammals and fish. In many cases, this research has been used to inform regulatory and permitting processes. Understanding of MHK environmental effects has matured over the last decade, and in 2016, PNNL captured the current state of our understanding in the 2016 State of the Science Report: Environmental Impacts of Marine Renewable Energy Development Around the World, a product of the Ocean Energy Systems Annex IV.

Environmental research reduces uncertainty, provides insight into strategies to minimize and mitigate risk, and helps the MHK industry move forward to provide clean energy benefits in a responsible way that is in line with regulatory and community values.

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Water Power Research