National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration just announced $5 million in grants for research on the environmental impacts of ocean renewable energy.
Three of the eight projects receiving funding are in the Northwest, with awards that add up to about a third of the total $5 million. Recipients include Pacific Energy Ventures in Portland, the University of Washington’s School of Aquatic and Fishery Scientists in Seattle, and Parametrix in Auburn, Wash.
Here’s a quick summary of the projects from NOAA:
- Protocols for Baseline Studies and Monitoring for Ocean Renewable Energy Pacific Energy Ventures (Portland, Oregon) will build a Protocol Framework for identifying, collecting and comparing environmental data relevant to offshore renewable energy projects. Leading scientists and stakeholders will work together during this two year project to develop and evaluate the protocol, which will outline the criteria and thresholds for collecting data for both baseline and operational monitoring studies for wave, tidal, and offshore wind projects on the U.S. West Coast. This tool will be portable to other regions and marine ecosystems, and will be developed for consistency with related European programs. Approximate award amount: $499,000 (over two years)
- Bayesian Integration for Marine Spatial Planning and Renewable Energy Siting
Parametrix (Auburn, Washington) will apply advanced probabilistic statistical methods to integrate oceanographic, ecological, human use data, stakeholder input, and cumulative impacts for the purpose of evaluating ocean renewable energy siting proposals. The project team has experience with two such methods that, when integrated, can support the needs of ocean renewable energy planning in the context of coastal and marine spatial planning and beyond.
Approximate award amount: $499,000 (over two years)
- Evaluating Acoustic Technologies to Monitor Aquatic Organisms at Renewable Sites: The University of Washington – School of Aquatic and Fishery Scientists (Seattle, Washington) will evaluate the ability of three classes of active acoustic technologies (echo sounders, multibeam sonar, and acoustic camera) to characterize and monitor animal densities and distributions at a proposed hydrokinetic site. In this two year study, the University of Washington and its partners will deploy instrument packages in northern Admiralty Inlet, Washington, the site of the Snohomish Public Utility District’s proposed tidal energy demonstration project. Approximate award amount: $746,000 (over two years)