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Tidal Energy Turbine Noise to be Studied

Effects of Noise on Wildlife, Ocean Add comments

A three-year research project in Scotland has been announced, which will study the impacts of tidal energy turbines on sea life. From Wave and Tidal Energy News:

The groundbreaking study will be conducted through a PhD studentship at the Scottish Association for Marine Science (SAMS UHI). It will look specifically at the background noise levels in areas being considered for tidal renewables development, as well as the noise made by tidal turbines. It will also explore the extent to which marine animals, particularly protected species, can detect and, potentially, avoid colliding with such devices.

Marine ecologist Dr Ben Wilson, who will be supervising the project, said: “This is an exciting opportunity to contribute to both sustainable marine energy extraction and conservation. Scotland is rapidly becoming a magnet for the companies developing devices to capture energy from tidal currents. These machines however will have to share the sea with vulnerable and protected species like whales, seals and fish. Understanding how these animals will perceive and behave around underwater turbines is a mystery but sound will undoubtedly be the most important sense for them, particularly at night and in murky water. Knowing what the natural sound-scape is like in prospective tidal energy sites and the noise output of different devices will help us identify those devices that marine animals will most easily move around without harm. With this understanding we will be better able to promote those machines that have the most gentle ecological footprints.”

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