Could Ocean Energy be Problematic for Marine Life?

Just as ocean energy is beginning to gain traction, concerns are surfacing. The electro-magnetic fields created by tide and wave generators and the cables that bring their electricity to shore  could interfere with the natural guidance systems used by marine life. 

Salmon, sharks, sea turtles, lobsters and crabs are among the marine life that use internal compasses that rely on the Earth’s magnetic fields.

Ocean energy machines might also produce a low hum that could interfere with communication among whales. 

It’s long been known that the use of military sonar poses a deadly threat to whales, many of which have been found dead or dying following massive sonic blasts. 

The Northwest Power Planning Council estimates ocean energy could eventually supply 10% of US energy, with 50,000 MW off the Northwest coast, equal to the output of 50 nuclear plants. 
Other sites under consideration are off the coast of Maine, Hawaii, Alaska, Florida and in the Mississippi River near Baton Rouge.

Scientists believe great white sharks, sea turtles and salmon travel thousand of miles each year using the earth’s magnetic fields to navigate.

Europe is moving aggressively on ocean energy, and a number of pilot projects are readying in the US without any knowledge of how these power devices affect the marine environment.

After only a dozen wave and tidal prototypes were installed in 2009, more than 45 projects will have been tested in 2010 and 2011, according to IHS Emerging Energy Research. If these prototypes are successful, IHS believes the global ocean energy project pipeline is poised to begin scaling. They estimate that more than 1.8 GW of ocean projects in 16 countries are currently in the pipeline.

(Visited 6,022 times, 1 visits today)

Post Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *