Investigating the noise propagation from a novel tidal turbine to assess ecological risk
It is now widely accepted that a shift towards renewable energy generation is needed in order to avoid further accelerated climate change. Underwater tidal turbines, wave energy converters and offshore wind turbine farms provide access to a largely untapped source of renewable energy, and Europe is arguably leading the way for technological advancements. However, while the advantages of renewable energy generation are not in doubt, locally the environmental impacts can be noticeable and need to be carefully considered.
Engaged by Queens University Belfast, we undertook noise measurements of a newly developed tidal turbine, Minesto’s Deep Green Powerkite (https://minesto.com/our-technology) to understand how this technology may influence the soundscape of the Narrows in Strangford Lough. As is often the case in our business, this project was multi-disciplinary, involving advanced underwater noise modelling techniques and relating them to marine mammal ecology. The primary ecological question was how the noise influenced the available listening space around a passing harbour porpoise and harbour seal.
At the completion of the project, the underwater acoustic signature of a subsea tidal kite was characterised, and how that influenced the active listening space of harbour porpoises and habour seals was better understood.