EU-funds new sea-bed survey programme in Orkney for wave energy developers

The Penguin wave-powered turbine.
The Penguin wave-powered turbine.

The first of three EU-funded annual ecological surveys to measure the impact that wave energy generators have on marine life and the sea-bed has been completed in Orkney

Teams from Plymouth and Exeter universities have carried out the first set of ecological studies as part of the EU Horizon 2020 funded Clean Energy from Ocean Waves project.

The research was carried out at the European Marine Energy Centre’s grid-connected wave energy test site in the Orkney isles, where the Penguin wave energy converter – itself under development by Finland’s Wello power company – has been operating since March this year.

The clean-energy studies will also provide information to marine energy stakeholders – developers, regulators and financiers – of any positive and negative effects so that they can be managed and/or mitigated as wave power technologies develop.

Initial observations indicate the presence of a variety of species, including cod, plaice and octopus, and both sand and rock habitat types. No conclusions regarding the impact of the devices can be made until the end of the project when all data has been collected and analysed.

Emma Sheehan of Plymouth University, explained: “As wave energy is still in the R&D phase of development, it is important to monitor the impact of wave energy convertor on the local ecosystem

“By conducting these non-destructive video-camera sea-bed studies over several years, we can build up a robust picture of the test site, and any impact that wave energy deployments may have.”

25 Oct 2017

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