John Huckerby, former chairman of OES (2009 – 2012) and Director at Power Projects Limited (USA / New-Zealand) describes the second theme of the call for papers: Silent Springs
Could you briefly explain what’s the purpose of this theme?
The aims of this theme are to address the effects that ocean energy deployments have on the environment, how those effects can be recognized and measured, methods of mitigation and the role of the regulatory sector in ocean energy development. The topic will cover how to convert marine resources into useable energy and transmitting it to market, whilst minimizing negative effects on the natural environment.
What are the challenges?
Even new forms of renewable energy, such as solar and wind, have suffered resistance arising from environmental concerns, even though their effects may be limited compared with established fossil fuel alternatives. Ocean energy deployments may have the benefit of having very limited effects on their surrounding environments and early experiences have supported this view. Nonetheless, ocean energy developers and regulators need to ensure that effects are measured and limited by mitigation. Early and sensitive communication with affected communities will be necessary and this may include openness with the ocean energy community about effects experienced in early deployments.
What are your expectations?
I anticipate that we will see wide-ranging and frank presentations from experienced device developers, mitigation efforts from them and their supply chain. I hope that presenters from other sectors, such as shipping, aquaculture and others will present their perspectives on the growth and spread of ocean energy projects. Local, regional and central government representatives will present their attitude and experiences with the deployment of ocean energy projects. I also expect that current and ongoing research on environmental effects and their mitigation will be communicated.