Annex IV seeks to be the premier international program engaged in bringing together information and practitioners on environmental effects of marine renewable energy development.
The culmination of phase 2 of Annex IV will be a State of the Science report that summarizes the state of knowledge of environmental effects of marine energy development, and seeks to place that knowledge in context of the progress of the industry worldwide. The official State of the science document is scheduled to be released in April 2016.
ACHIEVEMENTS AND PROGRESS IN 2015
Progress towards each achievement is described in the following sections.
MEMBER NATION ANALYSTS
Phase 2 of Annex IV is characterized by the close involvement of an analyst from each of the member nations. Each analyst was nominated by his/her nation, and is committed to contributing 10 to 20 hours per quarter to Annex IV.
Key tasks asked of each analyst include:
COLLECTION AND UPDATE OF METADATA
Information is collected for ongoing marine energy sites and research projects in the form of metadata that describe the project or study, the methods and outcomes of environmental monitoring, and provide contact information for the owners or authors of the reports. Building on the collection of metadata from phase 1, Annex IV continued to collect information on new wave and tidal projects and for ongoing research studies. This information is subsequently stored and can be accessed from Tethys. In addition, the program sought to update existing metadata forms by working through the country analysts and directly with developers and researchers. Over the course of 2015, 3 research study forms have been added, while 2 project site forms and 4 research study forms have been updated. This results in 22 projects sites and 34 research studies being up to date according to the determined 18-month threshold.
Additionally, 24 project sites and 17 research studies have been determined as “completed” or “canceled” and no longer require updates. The total Annex IV metadata form collection on Tethys currently includes 80 project sites and 57 research studies. Those totals include project sites for which there is no longer gear in the water but where environmental data were collected; they are maintained in the collection to increase the overall lessons that can be learned.
DISSEMINATION OF INFORMATION ON ENVIRONMENTAL EFFECTS
Tethys, the online knowledge management system which supports Annex IV material, continues to expand and to increase user interactions. The publically available collection of scientific papers, reports, and other media increased by 480 papers in the last year, for a total of 2069 entries. The collection includes information on offshore wind effects as well, but over half the papers are exclusively about marine energy development.
Over the past year, Tethys has seen an 89% increase in pageviews, with an increase in total visits to the site of 23%. During 2015, fifteen reviewers (ten with a background in wave, tidal or current energy) provided 98 peer review comments on the content and functionality of Tethys; the results of the peer review help guide improvements and changes to the system. A short survey was also sent to approximately 700 members of the Tethys community, providing 58 responses; these results gave an idea how users interact with the website. A report summarizing results of the peer review is available at: http://tethys.pnnl.gov/sites/default/files/attachments/PNNL-Tethys-Peer-Review-2015-final.pdf
ANNEX IV WORKSHOPS
Annex IV partnered with National Environmental Research Council to host a workshop at Ocean Business in Southampton, UK on April 16, 2015. This special session reviewed research and knowledge exchange programs for the development of novel technology, tools and methods, and considered the needs for the industry going forward. More information on this special session can be found at: http://tethys.pnnl.gov/events/nerc-workshop-update-technology-and-tools-derisk-and-streamline-development-special-session
Annex IV hosted a workshop on September 8, 2015 at the European Wave and Tidal Energy Conference with the objectives to 1) Brief the international marine renewable energy community on the Annex IV State of the Science Report; 2) Seek feedback from the community on topics of importance to the Annex IV initiative; 3) Provide methods for formal feedback on the Annex IV State of the Science Report. Brief presentations were given on selected chapters of the report, including: marine mammal collision risk, fish collision risk, electromagnetic fields, marine spatial planning, and case studies and consenting. Approximately 50-60 people attended this workshop. More information and archived presentations are available at: http://tethys.pnnl.gov/events/annex-iv-workshop-state-science
Three webinars have been held by Annex IV in 2015, each bringing together between 55 and 100 people online to listen to recent research results and plans:
The presentations and discussions from all webinars are archived at: http://tethys.pnnl.gov/mhk-environmental-webinars
STATE OF THE SCIENCE REPORT
The culmination of Phase 2 of Annex IV will be the State of the Science of environmental impacts of marine renewable energy (MRE) report. Specific chapters detail the current state of scientific understanding, identify continued data gaps and suggest research and monitoring needs moving forward for important environmental concerns. The report includes chapters on: 1) An introduction to Annex IV, 1) A summary of the potential environmental impacts of marine renewable energy, 3) Collision risk for animals around tidal turbines 4) Risk to animal from MRE-generated sound, 5) Changes in physical systems, 6) Effects of electromagnetic fields, 7) Changes in habitat caused by MRE 8) Marine Spatial Planning, and 9) Case studies on permitting MRE devices. A complete draft will be released for public comment in February 2016 and it is anticipated that that final report will be released in April 2016.
PARTNERING WITH AN INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE
Annex IV partnered with the European Wave and Tidal Energy Conference (EWTEC) during September 2015 in Nantes, France to enhance participation in the environmental track and increase the variety of papers presented. Twenty five papers were presented during this environmental track, an increase from 12 environmental presentations at the previous EWTEC. An average of 30 people attended each presentation and some presentations were so popular, not enough seating was available. The partnership with EWTEC was an opportunity for Annex IV member nations and researchers to share environmental research with a broad audience.
More information about the presentations of the environmental track can be found at: http://tethys.pnnl.gov/events/11th-european-wave-andtidal-energy-conference-ewtec
The major focus of Annex IV activities during 2016 will be finalizing the State of the Science report and publicizing its release in April 2016 through a combination of communication documents, presentations and webinars.
Future efforts will continue to focus on creating a commons around Annex IV and Tethys including: the continuation of the Annex IV environmental webinars and expert forums and the regular addition of new content, metadata, blog posts, and Tethys Blasts to continue engaging the Tethys community. Regular communication and update calls will be held with Annex IV member nation analysts to keep them apprised of Annex IV progress and upcoming activities such as: webinars and expert forums; soliciting new and updated metadata forms.
As the second phase of Annex IV will draw to a close in 2016, a proposal for a third phase will be submitted to the OES Executive Committee. During phase three, it is anticipated that Annex IV would continue many of the same successful activities while exploring new ways to engage the scientific and consenting communities to help the MRE industry move forward.