6B.2 Determining the Potential Environmental Impacts of Offshore Renewable Energy Development

Saturday, 14 November 2009: 8:55 AM
Lorielle Nicole Jackson, NOAA, Silver Spring, MD

The demand for renewable energy in the United States is increasing as energy resources decline and prices get higher. Some of this new renewable energy production will occur in the marine environment. However, the environmental impacts that renewable ocean energy will have on the ocean is largely unknown. Considering that the ocean is already strained from pollution, acidification, and rising water temperatures, it is essential that potential environmental impacts are carefully researched before the commercialization of renewable ocean energy. Potential impacts could be collision and strike of marine animals, toxic effects of chemicals, noise impacts, alteration of substrates and sediment transport and deposition, and also alteration of waves and currents to name a few. Using previous research available from technical reports, peer reviewed journals, and renewable ocean energy technology companies, my research project focuses on determining the potential environmental impacts of noise, chemicals, and electromagnetic fields on the marine environment. The information found and summarized will be used by NOAA staff in their environmental consultations. Many questions need to be answered before this industry becomes viable, which is especially true from the environmental standpoint.
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