Environmental Impacts of Ocean Energy Converters

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The successful development of ocean energy will depend on public acceptance of ocean energy technologies. Apart from competition for space and allocation of resources, which will be subject to regulatory interventions, there will be a requirement on ocean energy device developers to demonstrate that their technologies have limited impacts on the surrounding environment. Regulatory interventions will be necessary to ensure that project developers follow good environmental practice and avoid, eliminate, minimize or mitigate any unwanted environmental effects.

All energy generation technologies have environmental impacts, including renewable technologies, which may have larger footprints than fossil fuel technologies, because the energy density of most forms of renewable energy is low compared to these fossil fuels. However, ocean energy is one of the more 'dense' renewable energy forms and space requirements may be limited, when compared to wind farms and photovoltaic (PV) arrays.

The environmental impacts of ocean energy converters can be divided into physical, chemical and biological effects, which can occur at sea or on land.

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