EMEC prepping for acoustic monitoring programme

The European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) is preparing for a programme of acoustic surveys to determine the potential impact that marine renewable developments may have on local species and habitats.

This summer, EMEC will deploy a series of acoustic surveys designed to monitor noise levels of marine energy technologies at its ocean energy test sites in Orkney, Scotland.

The goal of the programme is to monitor wave energy converters demonstrated by Mocean Energy and AWS Ocean Energy at the Scapa Flow scale wave energy test site, via the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) SEA Wave project.

In addition, the project will aim to monitor tidal energy technologies demonstrated by Orbital Marine Power and Magallanes Renovables at the Fall of Warness site, funded by Horizon 2020 projects, FloTEC and MaRINET2.

EMEC will deploy static and drifting hydrophones to characterise the acoustic signature of devices during operation. The data will be compared to baseline data collected prior to technologies being present on-site, allowing developers to build an acoustic characterisation of their technology.

By measuring the acoustic noise of renewable devices, EMEC, developers and regulators are able to better understand what noise is emitted, potential impacts on marine life, and consider mitigations, which in turn should ease future permitting of devices as regulators gain a better understanding of the impact of ocean energy on the environment.

“EMEC is at the forefront of monitoring and collecting data for environmental assessments for wave and tidal energy,” said Donald Leaver, Environment & Consents officer at EMEC.

“The sector is determined to find new renewable energy solutions to help combat climate change so it’s vital that we understand how new technologies may impact marine life to mitigate any potential impacts. Acoustic monitoring will also give confidence to regulators when consenting technologies supporting the continued development of the sector.”