Marine Renewable Energy
- Offshore Wind Farms
- Wave Energy
- Tidal Energy
Offshore Wind Farms
Offshore wind projects are expected to increase significantly in number and magnitude, amplifying their potential impact on the marine environment. Offshore wind projects have the potential to introduce noise to the marine environment via the construction process, turbine operation, and increased vessel traffic due to construction and maintenance, but pile driving associated with the construction process generally introduces the highest noise levels. Passive acoustic monitoring provides a unique opportunity to track noise levels, biological activities, and to characterize the local marine soundscape before, during and after wind farm development. The loud impulses produced during pile driving are believed to be sufficiently powerful to affect the hearing of marine mammals. For this reason hydrophones are often used to monitor for animals before pile driving starts and during piling operations. Ocean Sonics can manufacture a reduced sensitivity hydrophone specifically for pile driving operations.
The world’s tides, ocean waves and river currents all contain kinetic and potential energy that can be used to drive turbines and produce electricity—reducing our dependence on fossil fuels. The energy in waves comes from the movement of the ocean and the changing heights and speed of the swells. Waves get their energy from the wind. Wind comes from solar energy. Waves gather, store, and transmit this energy thousands of miles with little loss. As long as the sun shines, wave energy will never be depleted. Wave power is renewable, green, pollution-free, and environmentally invisible, if not beneficial, particularly offshore.
Tidal energy is a renewable source of electricity which does not result in the emission of gases responsible for global warming or acid rain associated with fossil fuel generated electricity. Unlike wind and waves, tidal currents are far more predictable and reliable. We can predict the movement of the tides today, tomorrow, and in 300 years from now. Tidal barrages are undersea tidal turbines, like wind turbines but driven by the sea, harnessing undersea currents. Tidal turbines do not have to spin as fast as windmills to generate power, because water is roughly 800 times more dense than air. Energy can be harnessed from the tides in two ways: using the change in height of the tides; and using the flow of the water.