Industry unites to bridge knowledge gap on effects of subsea cables on marine wildlife

Industry unites to bridge knowledge gap on effects of subsea cables on marine wildlife

A number of companies from the industry have joined forces in a project to investigate the effects of subsea electricity cables on marine wildlife, expected to contribute to developing environmentally friendly power cable systems.

Source: Hellenic Cables

The FlatEMF project, being undertaken by 50Hertz, EirGrid, Europacable, TenneT, RGI Group and Hellenic Cables, is a laboratory study investigating the behavioral effects of varying electromagnetic field (EMF) levels on commercially exploited flatfish.

According to Hellenic Cables, which recently joined the project, subsea cables generate EMFs, which, as anecdotal evidence suggests, can influence flatfish behavior, causing concerns in the fishing community. However, the evidence is thin, prompting the need for more research.

The project will study EMF impacts on commercially important flatfish species to bridge this knowledge gap and facilitate fact-based discussions among sea users.

Andreas Chrysochos, R&D Senior Manager at Hellenic Cables, said that the company believes the findings will enhance understanding of EMF effects on marine life and contribute to developing environmentally friendly submarine power cable systems.

“We are pleased to have participated in an initiative aiming at advancing our understanding of the impact of magnetic fields produced from HVAC and HVDC submarine cables on marine ecosystems. Through collaborative efforts, we have contributed to the development of modelling guidelines to accurately estimate these magnetic fields,” said Konstantina Bitsi, Senior Design Engineer at Hellenic Cables.

The FlatEMF project is divided into two phases, with phase one starting in May and investigating the effects of AC cables on adult flatfish through bottom trawling, developing and validating an EMF model with field measurements on AC cables, and disseminating knowledge for fact-based discussion.

For the next phase of the research, the partners are inviting interested parties to join in investigating different flatfish life stages, additional species, and new geographical areas.

Next research steps would include the effects of DC power cables and other life stages, such as larvae and juveniles , additional mitigation field tests for both AC and DC power cables, and an EMF knowledge summit.