British Scientists Demand Study on Renewable Energy & Marine Life

EXETER, England, Sept. 21 (UPI) — British scientists are calling for urgent research to determine the impact of renewable energy developments on Earth’s marine life.

Scientists at the Universities of Exeter and Plymouth say research is needed to explore potential environmental benefits and threats resulting from marine renewable energy, such as offshore wind farms and wave and tidal energy conversion devices.

The scientists say man-made ocean structures attract many marine organisms and sometimes become artificial reefs supporting a wide variety of fish. The scientists also note such devices could have negative impacts, resulting from habitat loss, noise and electromagnetic fields.

“Marine renewable energy is hugely exciting and it is vital we explore the potential for it to provide a clean and sustainable energy source,” said Brendan Godley of the University of Exeter, one of the study’s authors. “However, to date, research into the impact of marine renewable energy on sea life has been very limited.”

Professor Martin Attrill, director of the University of Plymouth’s Marine Institute added: “Our paper highlights the need to take a fresh look at the effect marine renewable energy generation has on the environment if we are to deliver a higher proportion of energy from renewable sources and start to combat climate change. We need to have the industry working directly with conservation bodies to plan the next phase of development.”

The study appears in The Journal of Applied Ecology.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

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