WESE Project Addresses Wave Energy Environmental Concerns

Wave Energy in Southern Europe (WESE) project, aimed to improve the current knowledge on the potential environmental effects of wave energy, has been officially launched along with a corresponding website.

Photo: AZTI

The WESE Consortium, led by the RD&I Basque center AZTI, includes a multidisciplinary team of partners bringing together technology device developers (bimep, IDOM, AW Energy), consultants and researchers (WavEC, CTN, AZTI) and data managers (Hidromod), aiming to involve the wider community of ocean energy key stakeholders from across Portugal and Spain.

The project runs from November 2018 until October 2021, WESE said in the latest press statement.

The main goal of the project will be achieved through different specific objectives, which include collection, processing, analysis and sharing of environmental data around wave energy devices currently operating at sea: Mutriku OWC plant, MARMOK-A-5 installed at Bimep and WaveRoller installed at Peniche, Portugal.

These data collection and analysis aims to increase the knowledge on environmental effects regarding the priority research areas identified in the State of Science report, produced by the OES-IEA Annex IV team: risk to marine fauna from sound generated by wave devices, changes in physical systems (energy removal) and effects of Electromagnetic Fields (EMF).

The objectives also include identification of specific knowledge gaps of these priority research areas in order to select appropriate monitoring methodologies to produce standardized monitoring plans to be implemented on the sites under study.

Improvement of existing modelling tools with data collected from the sites under study, to contribute to the overall understanding of potential cumulative impacts of future larger scale wave energy deployments and to propose effective mitigation measures will be also included in the project.

Furthermore, the objectives include the development of country-specific licensing guidance, including recommendations on good practices to streamline the procedures and identification of omissions and/or procedures that may require simplification to improve its management and integration.

The application of an adaptive and risk-based approach to the consenting process of wave energy projects will be studied for both Portugal and Spain. Reports that could support authorities’ decision making on impacts evaluation, monitoring plans and monitoring data analysis, will be produced in close collaboration with regulators and key stakeholders in each country and with the technology developers that are part of the Consortium.

According to WESE, included in the objectives is development and implementation of Decision Support Tools for maritime spatial planning (MSP) for site selection, contributing to the identification and selection of suitable areas for wave energy developments, as well as to support decision makers during the licensing process through an integrated and evidence-based decision making as an essential process for sustainable, effective and efficient MSP.

In order to enhance awareness on relevant environmental effects WESE will have a Data Platform where all data, tools and guidance reports will be compiled and made available to serve data providers, developers and regulators.