The Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland, Wash., will receive more than $6.8 million over three years to advance the production of energy from ocean waves and moving rivers.
Funding from the U.S. Department of Energy will pay for a project that examines the environmental impacts of marine and hydrokinetic power. Marine power includes power harnessed from the flux of ocean tides and waves, while hydrokinetic refers to power generated from flowing freshwater without dams.
The project will examine the risks that the power generation techniques pose for the environment and wildlife, conduct laboratory and field experiments to further investigate certain risks, and predict the long-term impact of full-scale energy installations.
Some of the issues include how fish and marine mammals are directly affected by water power devices, including induced electromagnetic fields, noise and blade strike. Researchers will examine whether producing these kinds of power could create “dead zones” by interfering with the ocean’s circulation and nutrient patterns.
Staff from PNNL’s offices in Seattle, Portland, Richland and Sequim, Wash., will work together on the project. The study will be done in collaboration with Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Sandia National Laboratories, the Northwest National Marine Renewable Energy Center and the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth. Pacific Energy Ventures, an Oregon renewable energy consulting firm, will take part in the project as well.
Eric Mortenson, The Oregonian – http://www.oregonlive.com/environment/index.ssf/2009/09/energy_lab_will_study_producin.html