Special Issue "Technology and Methods for Environmental Monitoring of Marine Renewable Energy"

A special issue of Journal of Marine Science and Engineering (ISSN 2077-1312). This special issue belongs to the section "Marine Energy".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 March 2022) | Viewed by 21554

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Lenaig Hemery
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Energy & Environment Directorate, Coastal Sciences Division, Sequim, WA 98382, USA
Interests: benthic ecology; connectivity; dispersion; environmental impact assessment; marine invertebrates; marine renewable energy; species distribution modeling; stressor–receptor interactions
Dr. Joseph Haxel
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Energy & Environment Directorate, Coastal Sciences Division, Sequim, WA 98382, USA
Interests: high energy coastal environment; marine renewable energy; measurement technology; natural, biological, and anthropogenic sound sources; ocean acoustics; spatio-temporal patterns; underwater noise; underwater soundscapes

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

A common set of recommended technologies and methods for the collection and analysis of environmental monitoring data for marine renewable energy (MRE) converters will help to increase comparability and transferability between device types and provide common ground for evaluating environmental and ecological impacts among project sites. Recently, the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory’s Triton Initiative led an effort for field trials and validation testing of several monitoring technologies and methods for characterizing environmental changes (collision risk, underwater noise, electromagnetic fields, and changes in habitat) from current energy converter (CEC) and wave energy converter (WEC) testing activities at a variety of project sites. The contributions to this Special Issue will recommend technology and methods to improve efficiency and reduce costs for environmental monitoring of MRE devices based on specific field trials at open ocean, riverine, and tidal energy project sites in the U.S.

This Special Issue will be a collection of articles from the Triton Initiative and is not open for all to submit.

Dr. Lenaig Hemery
Dr. Joseph Haxel
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Journal of Marine Science and Engineering is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2200 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • marine renewable energy
  • environmental monitoring
  • technologies and methods
  • stressor–receptor interactions
  • fish collision risk
  • electromagnetic fields
  • changes in habitat
  • underwater noise

Published Papers (10 papers)

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Research

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Article
Quantifying Background Magnetic Fields at Marine Energy Sites: Challenges and Recommendations
J. Mar. Sci. Eng. 2022, 10(5), 687; https://doi.org/10.3390/jmse10050687 - 18 May 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1037
Abstract
Unknowns around the environmental effects of marine renewable energy have slowed the deployment of this emerging technology worldwide. Established testing methods are necessary to safely permit and develop marine energy devices. Magnetic fields are one potential cause of environmental effects and are created [...] Read more.
Unknowns around the environmental effects of marine renewable energy have slowed the deployment of this emerging technology worldwide. Established testing methods are necessary to safely permit and develop marine energy devices. Magnetic fields are one potential cause of environmental effects and are created when electricity is generated and transmitted to shore. Further, the existing variation of the background magnetic field at sites that may be developed for marine energy is largely unknown, making it difficult to assess how much additional stress or impact the anthropogenic magnetic field may have. This study investigates two instruments for their ability to characterize the background magnetic fields at a potential marine energy site in Sequim Bay, WA. Based on this evaluation, this study recommends an Overhauser magnetomer for assessing the background magnetic field and demonstrates the use of this sensor at a potential marine energy site. Full article
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Article
Underwater Noise Measurements around a Tidal Turbine in a Busy Port Setting
J. Mar. Sci. Eng. 2022, 10(5), 632; https://doi.org/10.3390/jmse10050632 - 06 May 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1216
Abstract
Acoustic emissions from current energy converters remain an environmental concern for regulators because of their potential effects on marine life and uncertainties about their effects stemming from a lack of sufficient observational data. Several recent opportunities to characterize tidal turbine sound emissions have [...] Read more.
Acoustic emissions from current energy converters remain an environmental concern for regulators because of their potential effects on marine life and uncertainties about their effects stemming from a lack of sufficient observational data. Several recent opportunities to characterize tidal turbine sound emissions have begun to fill knowledge gaps and provide a context for future device deployments. In July 2021, a commercial-off-the-shelf hydrophone was deployed in a free-drifting configuration to measure underwater acoustic emissions and characterize a 25 kW-rated tidal turbine at the University of New Hampshire’s Living Bridge Project in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Sampling methods and analysis were performed in alignment with the recently published IEC 62600-40 Technical Specification for acoustic characterization of marine energy converters. Results from this study indicate acoustic emissions from the turbine were below ambient sound levels and therefore did not have a significant impact on the underwater noise levels of the project site. As a component of Pacific Northwest National Laboratory’s Triton Field Trials (TFiT) described in this Special Issue, this effort provides a valuable use case for the IEC 62600-40 Technical Specification framework and further recommendations for cost-effective technologies and methods for measuring underwater noise at future current energy converter project sites. Full article
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Article
Use of a 360-Degree Underwater Camera to Characterize Artificial Reef and Fish Aggregating Effects around Marine Energy Devices
J. Mar. Sci. Eng. 2022, 10(5), 555; https://doi.org/10.3390/jmse10050555 - 19 Apr 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1771
Abstract
Marine energy devices must be attached to the seafloor by their foundations, pilings, or anchors, and will have other parts in the water column like the devices themselves, mooring lines, and power export cables running along the seafloor. The installation and presence of [...] Read more.
Marine energy devices must be attached to the seafloor by their foundations, pilings, or anchors, and will have other parts in the water column like the devices themselves, mooring lines, and power export cables running along the seafloor. The installation and presence of these artificial structures will create physical changes that can disrupt or create new habitats, and potentially alter the behavior of mobile organisms such as fish around a device by attracting them to these new artificial reefs and fish aggregating devices. In this study, we tested a new approach for monitoring fish activity around a marine energy device anchor: a 360-degree underwater camera to keep the target (a wave energy converter’s anchor) in the field of view of the camera. The camera was deployed in three configurations (hand-held, tripod, video lander) at sites with different hydrodynamics and underwater visibilities. The video lander was the best configuration: very stable, versatile, and easy to handle. The 360-degree field of view enabled observing and counting fishes, which were more abundant at dusk than dawn or noon, around the anchor. Despite remaining challenges, 360-degree cameras are useful tools for monitoring animal interactions with marine energy devices. Full article
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Article
Capabilities of an Acoustic Camera to Inform Fish Collision Risk with Current Energy Converter Turbines
J. Mar. Sci. Eng. 2022, 10(4), 483; https://doi.org/10.3390/jmse10040483 - 31 Mar 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2642
Abstract
A diversified energy portfolio may include marine energy in the form of current energy converters (CECs) such as tidal or in-river turbines. New technology development in the research stage typically requires monitoring for environmental effects. A significant environmental effect of concern for CECs [...] Read more.
A diversified energy portfolio may include marine energy in the form of current energy converters (CECs) such as tidal or in-river turbines. New technology development in the research stage typically requires monitoring for environmental effects. A significant environmental effect of concern for CECs is the risk of moving parts (e.g., turbine blades) colliding with animals such as fishes. CECs are installed in energetic locations in which it is difficult to operate sensors to fulfill monitoring requirements for informing collision risk. Collecting data (i.e., about blade strikes or near-misses) that inform interactions of fishes with CECs is usually attempted using active acoustic sensors or video cameras (VCs). Limitations of low-light conditions or water turbidity that preclude effective use of VCs are overcome by using high-resolution multibeam echosounders (or acoustic cameras (ACs)). We used an AC at two sites to test its ability to detect artificial and real fish targets and determine if strike, near-miss, and near-field behavior could be observed. Interactions with fish and artificial targets with turbines have been documented but strike confirmation with an AC is novel. The first site was in a tidal estuary with a 25 kW turbine and water clarity sufficient to allow VC data to be collected concurrently with AC data showing turbine blade strike on tethered artificial fish targets. The second site was a turbid, debris-laden river with a 5 kW turbine where only AC data were collected due to high water turbidity. Data collection at the second site coincided with downstream Pacific salmon (Oncorhynchus spp.) smolt migration. Physical fish capture downstream of the turbine was performed with an incline plane trap (IPT) to provide context for the AC observations, by comparing fish catches. Discrimination between debris and fishes in the AC data was not possible, because active movement of fishes was not discernable. Nineteen fishes were released upstream of the turbine to provide known times of possible fish/turbine interactions, but detection was difficult to confirm in the AC data. ACs have been used extensively in past studies to count large migratory fish such as Pacific salmon, but their application for small fish targets has been limited. The results from these two field campaigns demonstrate the ability of ACs to detect targets in turbid water and observe blade strikes, as well as their limitations such as the difficulty of distinguishing small fishes from debris in a high-energy turbid river. Recommendations are presented for future applications associated with CEC device testing. Full article
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Article
Triton Field Trials: Promoting Consistent Environmental Monitoring Methodologies for Marine Energy Sites
J. Mar. Sci. Eng. 2022, 10(2), 177; https://doi.org/10.3390/jmse10020177 - 28 Jan 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1345
Abstract
Uncertainty surrounding the potential environmental impacts of marine energy (ME) has resulted in extensive and expensive environmental monitoring requirements for ME deployments. Recently, there have been more ME deployments and associated environmental data collection efforts, but no standardized methodologies for data collection. This [...] Read more.
Uncertainty surrounding the potential environmental impacts of marine energy (ME) has resulted in extensive and expensive environmental monitoring requirements for ME deployments. Recently, there have been more ME deployments and associated environmental data collection efforts, but no standardized methodologies for data collection. This hinders the use of previously collected data to inform new ME project permitting efforts. Triton Field Trials (TFiT), created at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory by the United States (U.S.) Department of Energy, explores ways to promote more consistent environmental data collection and enable data transferability across ME device types and locations. Documents from 118 previous ME projects or ME-related research studies in the U.S. and internationally were reviewed to identify the highest priority stressor–receptor relationships to be investigated and the technologies and methodologies used to address them. Thirteen potential field sites were assessed to determine suitable locations for testing the performance of relevant monitoring technologies. This introductory paper provides an overview of how priority research areas and associated promising technologies were identified as well as how testing locations were identified for TFiT activities. Through these scoping efforts, TFiT focused on four activity areas: collision risk, underwater noise, electromagnetic fields, and changes in habitat. Technologies and methodologies were tested at field sites in Alaska, Washington, California, and New Hampshire. Detailed information on the effectiveness of the identified methodologies and specific recommendations for each of the four focus areas are included in the companion papers in this Special Issue. Full article
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Article
A Framework for Effective Science Communication and Outreach Strategies and Dissemination of Research Findings for Marine Energy Projects
J. Mar. Sci. Eng. 2022, 10(2), 130; https://doi.org/10.3390/jmse10020130 - 19 Jan 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2748
Abstract
Marine energy is an emerging renewable energy industry with the potential to produce 2300 terawatt-hours per year from resources within the United States. As development and testing of marine energy devices advance, regulatory and permitting decision-makers are concerned about the uncertainty surrounding the [...] Read more.
Marine energy is an emerging renewable energy industry with the potential to produce 2300 terawatt-hours per year from resources within the United States. As development and testing of marine energy devices advance, regulatory and permitting decision-makers are concerned about the uncertainty surrounding the potential environmental effects resulting from the introduction of these novel devices in coastal and riverine environments. The Triton Initiative researches and provides recommendations for environmental monitoring technologies and methods to inform industry stakeholders with the data necessary to permit the testing of marine energy systems. Effective dissemination of the research findings is essential for improving the accessibility of data to stakeholders who may use the results to inform policy decisions, yet few frameworks for conducting science communications for marine energy projects exist. In this paper, we present tools, channels, and tactics for developing a science communication framework for marine energy projects, or similar areas of study, using the Triton Initiative’s pilot science communication program as a case study. By leveraging existing bodies of work in disciplines such as communications theory, marketing, public relations, and social science, the presented framework includes audience identification and analysis; channel development, including a website, blog, newsletter, social media, and webinars and presentations; and metrics for determining success. Outcomes from one year of Triton’s case study are presented, including the most effective tactics and lessons learned. Full article
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Article
What’s in My Toolkit? A Review of Technologies for Assessing Changes in Habitats Caused by Marine Energy Development
J. Mar. Sci. Eng. 2022, 10(1), 92; https://doi.org/10.3390/jmse10010092 - 11 Jan 2022
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1517
Abstract
Marine energy devices are installed in highly dynamic environments and have the potential to affect the benthic and pelagic habitats around them. Regulatory bodies often require baseline characterization and/or post-installation monitoring to determine whether changes in these habitats are being observed. However, a [...] Read more.
Marine energy devices are installed in highly dynamic environments and have the potential to affect the benthic and pelagic habitats around them. Regulatory bodies often require baseline characterization and/or post-installation monitoring to determine whether changes in these habitats are being observed. However, a great diversity of technologies is available for surveying and sampling marine habitats, and selecting the most suitable instrument to identify and measure changes in habitats at marine energy sites can become a daunting task. We conducted a thorough review of journal articles, survey reports, and grey literature to extract information about the technologies used, the data collection and processing methods, and the performance and effectiveness of these instruments. We examined documents related to marine energy development, offshore wind farms, oil and gas offshore sites, and other marine industries around the world over the last 20 years. A total of 120 different technologies were identified across six main habitat categories: seafloor, sediment, infauna, epifauna, pelagic, and biofouling. The technologies were organized into 12 broad technology classes: acoustic, corer, dredge, grab, hook and line, net and trawl, plate, remote sensing, scrape samples, trap, visual, and others. Visual was the most common and the most diverse technology class, with applications across all six habitat categories. Technologies and sampling methods that are designed for working efficiently in energetic environments have greater success at marine energy sites. In addition, sampling designs and statistical analyses should be carefully thought through to identify differences in faunal assemblages and spatiotemporal changes in habitats. Full article
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Review

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Review
A Summary of Environmental Monitoring Recommendations for Marine Energy Development That Considers Life Cycle Sustainability
J. Mar. Sci. Eng. 2022, 10(5), 586; https://doi.org/10.3390/jmse10050586 - 26 Apr 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1421
Abstract
Recommendations derived from papers documenting the Triton Field Trials (TFiT) study of marine energy environmental monitoring technology and methods under the Triton Initiative (Triton), as reported in this Special Issue, are summarized here. Additionally, a brief synopsis describes how to apply the TFiT [...] Read more.
Recommendations derived from papers documenting the Triton Field Trials (TFiT) study of marine energy environmental monitoring technology and methods under the Triton Initiative (Triton), as reported in this Special Issue, are summarized here. Additionally, a brief synopsis describes how to apply the TFiT recommendations to establish an environmental monitoring campaign, and provides an overview describing the importance of identifying the optimal time to perform such campaigns. The approaches for tracking and measuring the effectiveness of recommendations produced from large environmental monitoring campaigns among the stakeholder community are discussed. The discussion extends beyond the initial scope of TFiT to encourage discussion regarding marine energy sustainability that includes life cycle assessment and other life cycle sustainability methodologies. The goal is to inspire stakeholder collaboration across topics associated with the marine energy industry, including diversity and inclusion, energy equity, and how Triton’s work connects within the context of the three pillars of energy sustainability: environment, economy, and society. Full article
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Review
Minimizing Ecological Impacts of Marine Energy Lighting
J. Mar. Sci. Eng. 2022, 10(3), 354; https://doi.org/10.3390/jmse10030354 - 02 Mar 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1920
Abstract
Marine energy is poised to become an important renewable energy contributor for the U.S., but widespread deployment of the technology hinges on its benefits outweighing the potential ecological impacts. One stressor marine energy installations introduce is light, which is known to cause varying [...] Read more.
Marine energy is poised to become an important renewable energy contributor for the U.S., but widespread deployment of the technology hinges on its benefits outweighing the potential ecological impacts. One stressor marine energy installations introduce is light, which is known to cause varying responses among wildlife and has not yet been addressed as an environmental concern. This review discusses requirements and regulations for similar structures and how lighting design choices can be made to meet these requirements while minimizing environmental consequences. More practical guidance on implementing lighting for marine energy is needed, as well as updated guidelines to reflect technological and research advances. Known responses of wildlife to light are introduced in addition to how the responses of individuals may lead to ecosystem-level changes. The impact of light associated with marine energy installations can be reduced by following basic guidance provided herein, such as removing excess lighting, using lights with high directionality, and employing controls to reduce light levels. Continued research on animal responses to light, such as findings on minimum light levels for animal responses, alongside the development of highly-sensitivity spectral characterization capabilities can further inform lighting guidelines for deploying future open ocean marine energy devices. Full article
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Review
A Review of Modeling Approaches for Understanding and Monitoring the Environmental Effects of Marine Renewable Energy
J. Mar. Sci. Eng. 2022, 10(1), 94; https://doi.org/10.3390/jmse10010094 - 11 Jan 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1847
Abstract
Understanding the environmental effects of marine energy (ME) devices is fundamental for their sustainable development and efficient regulation. However, measuring effects is difficult given the limited number of operational devices currently deployed. Numerical modeling is a powerful tool for estimating environmental effects and [...] Read more.
Understanding the environmental effects of marine energy (ME) devices is fundamental for their sustainable development and efficient regulation. However, measuring effects is difficult given the limited number of operational devices currently deployed. Numerical modeling is a powerful tool for estimating environmental effects and quantifying risks. It is most effective when informed by empirical data and coordinated with the development and implementation of monitoring protocols. We reviewed modeling techniques and information needs for six environmental stressor–receptor interactions related to ME: changes in oceanographic systems, underwater noise, electromagnetic fields (EMFs), changes in habitat, collision risk, and displacement of marine animals. This review considers the effects of tidal, wave, and ocean current energy converters. We summarized the availability and maturity of models for each stressor–receptor interaction and provide examples involving ME devices when available and analogous examples otherwise. Models for oceanographic systems and underwater noise were widely available and sometimes applied to ME, but need validation in real-world settings. Many methods are available for modeling habitat change and displacement of marine animals, but few examples related to ME exist. Models of collision risk and species response to EMFs are still in stages of theory development and need more observational data, particularly about species behavior near devices, to be effective. We conclude by synthesizing model status, commonalities between models, and overlapping monitoring needs that can be exploited to develop a coordinated and efficient set of protocols for predicting and monitoring the environmental effects of ME. Full article
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