Categorizing and Evaluating the Ecological Stresses from Commercial Scale MHK Development
Conceptual models and environmental risk evaluation systems for MHK development and deployment
Argonne is engaged in three tasks under this program:
1 Development of Conceptual Models (CMs) and an environmental risk assessment process to analyze key environmental risks associated with deployments of MHK systems.The CMs and risk process will aid developers in the identification and evaluation of potential environmental impacts and risks that could occur during all stages of MHK development. The CMs and risk process will help in the completion of scientifically-defensible environmental analyses that will be needed to address regulatory and permitting concerns, and support developers, regulators and other stakeholders in the approval, siting, design, construction, and operation of MHK projects. Argonne will lead activities to refine the conceptual models that were developed under this subtask in FY2010 and that identified potential links between environmental stressors (e.g., noise, EMF) associated with all phases (i.e., siting, construction, operation, and decommissioning) of MHK development and operations and marine and freshwater ecological resources (e.g., fish, sea turtles). The preliminary CMs developed in FY2010 also identified and characterized the potential nature, magnitude, and extent of the impacts of those stressors on the specific ecological resource categories.
2 Characterize the relationships between the number of operating MHK devices in an area and the magnitude and extent of potential environmental impacts in marine and freshwater ecosystems. Develop CMs that describe the relationships between potential environmental effects and operations of MHK arrays. Argonne will work develop CMs for the operation of MHK arrays; these will be based on the CMs developed for single MHK devices. The generic and site-specific CMs developed will be revised to include potential interactions among multiple MHK devices operating in a specific area, and will incorporating results of the hydrodynamic, sediment transport, water quality, and acoustic studies.
3 Analysis of Cumulative impacts of MHK deployment encompasses combinations of both multiple stressors (EMF, noise, strike, etc.) and incremental impacts associated with deployment of multiple MHK devices at a specific location. Therefore, understanding cumulative impacts requires knowledge regarding not only stressors associated with all phases of MHK development, but also of other anthropogenic sources of those same stressors to which MHK operations may be incrementally adding. The purpose of this subtask is to evaluate the cumulative impact of multiple stressors associated with the installation and operation of MHK projects and with other anthropogenic activities. Cumulative impacts will be evaluated from the standpoint of how the combinations of multiple MHK stressors (EMF, noise, strike, etc.) combine with the effects of the same stressors associated with other, non-MHK anthropogenic activities. The objective is to dvelop CMs and associated risk hypotheses that describe the relationships among MHK and non-MHK stressors and risks to marine and freshwater ecological resources. Argonne will develop a risk assessment process for evaluating (qualitatively and quantitatively, where possible) the potential for cumulative impacts of commercial scale MHK developments on environmental resources.