Report of the Renewable Energy Session, Oceanoise2015: Report of the Round Table Session on Renewable Energy

Frank Thomsen, Paul Lepper, J. Bald, Philippe Blondel, K. Grellier, A. Norro, Jakob Tougaard, Ben Wilson

Research output: Chapter or section in a book/report/conference proceedingChapter or section


The discussion was divided into a first section, where the audience addressed specific questions to the presenters and a second part, where the questions distributed by the chairs beforehand were discussed.
One topic covered in the first part was the distribution of sound sources in the water column (i.e. in different water depths and horizontal distribution). Another issue discussed was fouling impacts, which is moving up the agenda now that more devices are available and accruing appreciable submerged times. It is likely that fouling could affect acoustic signatures of moving wave / tidal-stream energy converters. One participant mentioned the need for sound data from moored ships (as used for maintenance and also during installation/recovery). The discussion also covered the biological implications of ‘low-level noise’ (i.e. behavioural impacts). Synergistic / cumulative effects from a variety of devices were discussed as well. In this context, it was mentioned that operational wind turbine platforms may in some cases act as fish aggregation devices and that fish in the vicinity of these turbines could be affected by changes in the local soundscape due to operational sound. In this context, there was a mention of the UK-based FLOWBEC project (FLOW and Benthic ECology 4D). This project aimed to improve the understanding of how the physical behaviour of the water such as currents, waves and turbulence at tide and wave energy sites influences the behaviour of marine wildlife, and how tide and wave energy devices might alter the behaviour of such wildlife. On a more general note, it was argued that there is a push-pull situation with regards to the implementation of marine renewables and the protection of marine life. In general, there seems to be a lack of understanding of the changes in soundscapes due to the implementation of marine renewable energy devices.
In the second part of the discussion, the speakers and audience considered some high-priority issues. Mentioned were:
Impacts of pile driving on commercially important and / or protected fish species such as herring. It was mentioned here that, although the topic is important, it will be challenging to study as the reactions of schooling or spawning fish could be rather subtle and therefore difficult to measure despite their subsequent importance.
Impacts of MREDs on invertebrates. Studies in the Baltic have shown no differences between the species composition on foundations in an offshore wind farm compared to a nearby stony reef. However it has to be considered that the life cycle of many marine invertebrates is short, so that impacts during construction would go undetected. More measurements, in more varied locations, are therefore necessary.
Attraction of fish to underwater structures (i.e. offshore turbine foundations) and trade-offs between costs (i.e. noise exposure) and benefits (i.e. availability of food and protection against predators and fishing).This trade off could lead fish to receive excessive and chronic noise exposure.
Cumulative impacts from several devices (vibration / noise) or cables (additional EMF impacts). How individual animals respond to multiple devices compared to single devices is not yet clear and impinges on issues such as collision risk modelling and behaviour within or around arrays of different shapes and designs.
Ecosystem changes for example changes in wave regime and knock-on effects on turbidity in combination with noise. Multi-physical and biological disciplines approaches to assessment of impacts becoming a higher priority.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationOCEANOISE2015
Subtitle of host publicationToward an Acoustically Sound Ocean
EditorsMichel André, Peter Sigray
Place of PublicationVilanova i la Geltru, Spain
Number of pages2
Publication statusPublished - 4 Jul 2016
EventOCEANOISE2015: Toward an Acoustically Sound Ocean - Conference Centre, Vilanova i la Geltru, Spain
Duration: 11 May 201515 May 2015


CityVilanova i la Geltru
Internet address

Bibliographical note

Report of the Round Table Session on Renewable Energy, peer-reviewed to highlight research directions for the international research community, and to be reviewed and updated at the next conference in 2017.


  • acoustics
  • Marine Renewable Energy
  • ambient noise
  • ocean engineering

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Acoustics and Ultrasonics
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Ocean Engineering
  • Oceanography
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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