The environmental implications of wave energy converters

Wave energy converters remove energy from waves. This means that both near-shore bottom mounted devices and offshore floating devices will calm the sea. This will be broadly beneficial since it will protect the coast from waves.

Land and near-shore bottom mounted wave converters will cause some disruption to the marine environment during construction but this should be short lived. Once in place they should have little impact. There may be a visual impact and oscillating water column converters may generate noise from their air turbines.

Floating offshore devices should be less disruptive since they will normally be built onshore and then towed to the site where they are deployed. However floating devices are likely to be a hazard to shipping and sites will need to be selected that cause minimum disruption. It may well make sense to deploy such devices at offshore wind sites; both need to be away from shipping lanes and well marked to prevent the danger of collision. A floating device could become a serious hazard if it slipped its mooring, so strict monitoring would be essential.

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