Social and ecological impacts of marine energy development
For marine energy to be truly sustainable, its social and ecological impacts must be identified and measures by which to mitigate adverse effects established before devices are deployed in large arrays. To inform future research and encourage environmentally-sensitive developments, this review aims to identify the most significant social and ecological issues associated with wave and tidal current energy generation. Modifications to wave climates, flow patterns, and marine habitats, particularly through increased underwater noise and collision risk, are identified as key ecological issues. Social acceptance of renewable energy is found to be closely linked to the level of stakeholder involvement and the public perception of renewable energy. The review concludes with a call for a more strategic and collaborative research effort between developers, academia, and the public sector to improve environmental monitoring standards and best practices for device and array design.