Effects on the Environment

Wave energy devices may exert a range of effects on the environment, not all of which will necessarily lead to relevant or negative changes in the marine environment. The deployment of wave energy devices can effect the environment in which they are sited primarily in two ways:

1, Wave energy devices will remove energy from the ocean, making less available for natural processes at the site.

2, Wave energy arrays will introduce many large, hard structures, creating new and different habitat types.

Reductions in near shore ocean energy may change current patterns and water mixing, potentially affecting organisms by altering food delivery patterns or rates, the mixing of eggs and sperm, the dispersal of spores and/or larvae, and how temperature varies throughout the water column. Changes in water movement also can affect how sand is moved along the coast. Because sediment grain size often determines which animals can live in the sand, changes to sand movement may affect the distribution of organisms. These wave, current and sediment transport effects will be technology- and location-specific.

Modeling of the Oregon coast by potential device developers concluded that their project would have an undetectable effect on erosion/accretion at the shoreline. The Strategic Environmental Analysis by the Scottish Executive concluded there would be only minor effects of a wave energy array but recommended appropriate local analysis.
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