From June 22 – 24, 2010, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and Department of Energy (DOE) hold a workshop on the potential environmental impacts of OTEC facilities. The workshop is a step towards increased collaboration and coordination which is crucial to the advancement of OTEC development.
Like with every new energy technology, OTEC has unique challenges in terms of environmental impact. The workshop focus was to assess OTEC’s potential impact, such as the redistribution of large water masses in the ocean, platform presence, electromagnetic field and noise.
The workshop helped to identify the baseline environmental studies and monitoring strategies, and where further research is needed to ensure that the development of a commercial scale OTEC facility is environmentally acceptable. An important initiative to efficiently address gaps in knowledge.
The results of this workshop show that physical, chemical and biological impacts of an OTEC plant are likely to occur during the installation and operation of an OTEC facility. However, due to a lack of appropriate field data, the magnitude and extent of these impacts are not known. In order to gain a better understanding of the risk installation and operation of an OTEC facility represents, a baseline consisting of a minimum of one year of data is required prior to construction and installation.
More information about the workshop can be found in the final report: http://www.crrc.unh.edu/workshops/otec_2/index.html