EcoWatt2050

Lead Research Organisation: Heriot-Watt University
Department Name: Sch of Energy, Geosci, Infrast & Society

Abstract

The Scottish Government is committed to promoting substantial sustainable growth in its marine renewable industries. Agreements for sea bed leases are already in place for 2GW of wave and tidal developments, and projects are progressing through the licensing process. Strategic marine planning for future phases of wave, tidal and offshore wind development is now in progress. For marine renewables to significantly contribute to the low-carbon energy mix towards 2050, significant offshore development in the form of very large scale arrays will be needed.

In planning for such a future, the Government must consider the mix of technologies, the locations and configurations of very large scale arrays and their performance, and the implications of anticipated changes to the marine environment from climate change. In establishing its strategic policy positions, the Government must also ensure that legal obligations are met, particularly those under the European Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD) to achieve Good Environmental Status (GES) by 2020.

The EcoWatt2050 consortium has been established through the auspices of the Marine Alliance for Science and Technology for Scotland (MASTS) with Heriot-Watt University and the Universities of Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Strathclyde, Swansea and the Highlands and Islands, the National Oceanography Centre (Liverpool) and with Marine Scotland Science (MSS), the organization responsible for providing scientific advice to the Scottish Government on all aspects of marine renewable energy development, policy and planning. The research programme has been specifically designed to respond to questions posed by MSS: (1) How can marine planning be used to lay the foundation for the sustainable development of very large scale arrays of marine renewable energy devices? (2) What criteria should be used to determine the ecological limits to marine renewable energy extraction, and what are the implications for very large scale array characteristics? (3) How can we differentiate the effects of climate change from energy extraction on the marine ecosystem? (4) Are there ways in which marine renewables development may ameliorate or exacerbate the predicted effects of climate change on marine ecosystems? The overarching objective is thus to determine ways in which marine spatial planning and policy development, can enable the maximum level of marine energy extraction, while minimizing environmental impacts and ensuring that these meet the legal criteria established by European law.

The research is structured in 5 workstreams. The first led by MSS will monitor progress and set out scenarios for the mix of technologies, very large scale array configurations, and environmental acceptance criteria. The second led by Edinburgh University will develop the hydrodynamic models necessary to examine the physical changes brought about by very large scale energy extraction, including under conditions anticipated from climate change. These outputs feed directly into workstreams 3 and 4 led by HWU and Aberdeen University respectively. These extend this work to examine changes in availability and location of critical habitats for benthic and mobile marine species, and to determine the consequences of changes in critical habitat for the ecosystem as a whole. Finally, workstream 5 led by MSS provides a synthesis of this research, quantifying the balance between energy extraction and environmental change and acceptance criteria to be used in marine spatial planning and policy development.

EcoWat2050 builds in direct participation from industry in various aspects of its work, and has a number of wider knowledge exchange and stakeholder engagement activities planned.

Planned Impact

EcoWatt2050 will provide answers to specific questions faced by marine planning authorities on the potential limits to marine renewables extraction (encompassing the future mix of marine technologies), on the cumulative physical and ecological impacts of these, and how these are to be differentiated from those of climate change, and other anthropogenic impacts envisaged by 2050. These are critical to marine spatial planning and to inform strategic policy development on marine energy, and under the EU Marine Strategy Framework Directive. Deliverables from the project will be pivotal in enabling national and regional planning authorities to determine strategic arrangements for optimal exploitation of the resource while maintaining necessary levels of environmental protection and status. This is critical for effective marine spatial planning, for protecting the qualifying features of Natura 2000 sites, and for meeting the requirements of the EU Marine Strategy Framework Directive.

Marine Scotland Science, the organisation responsible for providing scientific advice to the regulator and planning authority on all planning and consenting matters where very large scale arrays are envisaged, is a full project partner in EcoWatt2050 and will oversee the deliverables and lead, throughout the research, the engagements with the device and field project developers, which are necessary to ensuring confidence in the outputs of the work for both industry and regulator.

This partnership, and the necessary engagements with developers are embedded in EcoWatt2050 to ensure the pivotal impact of the work, that deliverables meet the requirements of the sector and can be immediately exploited.

Providing a framework for the strategic development of marine renewables and predicting the impacts of very large scale resource extraction by 2050 are essential to de-risking the long term development of the sector, and will assist investors in supporting and building the financial case for accelerated deployment on these scales. Socio-economic benefits will be evident at a community level by providing skilled employment as a result of accelerated developments, up to regional, national and international level by increasing the UK share of renewables, and thus low carbon, energy production capacity globally. Direct beneficiaries of this research activity include the marine planning and regulatory authorities, the Crown Estate (responsible for seabed leasing), device and field developers, and investors associated with field development financing. Its positive economic and social impacts in providing timely solutions to these questions are significant.

Associated with the accelerated development of the sector, are secondary economic benefits which will come from upgrades to the electricity network, enhanced opportunities in technology manufacturing, and regional benefits from upgrades to port and harbour facilities, and related service sector activity, all likely to arise, with less risks, from confidence associated with a clear future strategy.

The expertise and capacity developed from the research will assist in the integration of science into the marine planning process, and will benefit more generally the knowledge economy now emerging around marine renewable planning, strategic environmental assessment, and the ecosystem approach to the management of European seas, and in particular to the implementation of the EU Marine Strategy Framework Directive.

The project will also generate new knowledge and advances in methodologies, both in innovation and application, of value not only to the sector but to a wider research community in fields ranging from hydrodynamic modeling to marine climate change.

Publications

10 25 50
 
Description It has been shown that the changes brought about in the marine environment from large scale deployment of tidal energy arrays are small compared to the anticipated impacts from future climate change. Impacts from wave energy extraction are likely to be localized and occur within an envelope described by the tidal devices and the shoreline, again being less significant from those occurring from climate change. Confidence has been gained and shared widely in the specialized requirements of incorporating energy extraction within hydrodynamic models, and modeling additionally climate change in combined scenarios, with methodologies developed now employed by Marine Scotland Science.
Exploitation Route Already being applied
Sectors Aerospace, Defence and Marine,Energy,Environment,Government, Democracy and Justice

 
Description The development of advanced hydrodynamic modeling of marine energy extraction and climate change has assisted the development of this modeling expertise within the Scottish Government (Marine Science Scotland) and provided model frameworks, data and software now used by them. The outputs of the research have provided clear comparisons between the environmental changes arising from large scale marine energy extraction and concomitant climate change. These have been widely reported to international and national academic fora, and presented to the scientific and policy branches of the Scottish Government. The research has led to other research funding and several successful additional initiatives within Supergen Marine, and elsewhere, in addition to some high profile appointments from PDRAs and engaged in the research.
First Year Of Impact 2017
Sector Aerospace, Defence and Marine,Energy,Environment,Government, Democracy and Justice
Impact Types Economic,Policy & public services

 
Description DEFRA Workshop: Foresight Future of the sea
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Participation in a national consultation
 
Description ICES Workshop - Atlantic Research Alliance and FAO workshop
Geographic Reach Multiple continents/international 
Policy Influence Type Participation in a advisory committee
Impact Working towards making the Ecosystem Approach Operational
URL http://ices.dk/sites/pub/Publication%20Reports/Project%20reports/2016/AORACSA_WP4_FAO_ICES_Ecosystem...
 
Description Material used in Invited presentation to European Marine Board
Geographic Reach Europe 
Policy Influence Type Gave evidence to a government review
 
Description EPSRC Impact Acceleration Account
Amount £5,000 (GBP)
Funding ID RIR1014-115 
Organisation Swansea University 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 11/2017 
End 02/2018
 
Description HLF funding for the CoCoast Capturing our Coast Citizen Science project led by Newcastle University
Amount £1,700,000 (GBP)
Organisation Heritage Lottery Fund 
Sector Charity/Non Profit
Country United Kingdom
Start 10/2015 
End 10/2018
 
Description Supergen ORE hub 2018
Amount £5,097,482 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/S000747/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 07/2018 
End 06/2022
 
Title Data for: "A synthetic map of the northwest European Shelf sedimentary environment for applications in marine science" 
Description Results from a statistical mapping analysis of marine seabed sediments and their properties covering the NW European shelf 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2017 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact Interest from defra regarding modelled maps of marine carbon deposits 
URL https://pure.strath.ac.uk/portal/en/datasets/data-for-a-synthetic-map-of-the-northwest-european-shel...
 
Description The TeraWatt and EcoWatt2050 Consortia 
Organisation Marine Scotland Science (MSS)
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Marine Scotland Science are full partners in the Consortium and responsible for the acquisition of all data used in the research which is made available via their ftp site.
Collaborator Contribution All outcomes from all workstreams are shared with MSS
Impact MSS Have developed FVCOM models of the Scottish Shelf with subdomains covering areas where wave and tidal developments may occur.
Start Year 2014
 
Title Bedshear 
Description 'bedshear' is an R package that allows you to calculate bed shear stress from combined waves and tides, and wave orbital velocity. Bedshear stress for combined waves and tides is calculated using the equations of Soulsby and Clarke (2005), and wave orbital velocity is calculated using the equations of Souslby (2006). 
Type Of Technology Software 
Year Produced 2019 
Open Source License? Yes  
Impact None as yet 
 
Description "MARRiAgE: MArine Renewables Research Accelerator tEam" 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Material used in workshop run by The Marine Alliance for Science and Technology Scotland (MASTS) Marine Renewable Energy Forum and Offshore Renewables Joint Industry Programme (ORJIP) for Ocean Energy . Purpose to discuss how to fix the broke process of funding fundamental research for environmental impacts of marine renewables. Impact - it launched and produced the funding for Development of an ORE environmental R&D strategy for Scotland
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description ICES Theme Session 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Presentation to the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea Theme Session K on Impact of Maritime Structures, providing an international audience of professional scientists and engineers to whom the findings of EcoWatt2050 were explained.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description MASTS Annual Science Meeting Workshop to report findings of EcoWatt2050 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact MASTS have been instrumental in organising outreach activities, particularly to relevant industry bodies. This marked the final workshop session to relay and discuss the findings of the research with a broad cross section of field and device developers and others from the academic community.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Material used in Invited Seminar National Oceanographic Centre, Liverpool 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Seminar on Oceans as Habitats: What changes will matter the most to pelagic habitats and mobile animals? Led to offers of collaboration on NERC projects.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description NERC JUNE WORKSHOP Challenges and opportunities renewable energy event 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Purpose to engage NERC Strategic groups and politicians about possible best routes / issues to consider to fund for strategic solution to multiple and sustainable use of marine renewable energy
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description ORE SuperGen Workshop 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Workshops was for Academic ( 62%) and Industry (38%) participants
AIMS OF THE WORKSHOP
• To deliver a portfolio of prioritised ORE R&D challenges which facilitate transformation of the ORE system through addressing the needs of business and policy whilst delivering measurable progress and impact.
• To achieve wide and inclusive participation in defining ORE R&D challenges by providing opportunities to contribute at workshops and online for those not able to attend in person.
• To ensure that the challenges identified are system wide, and are conceptualised with reference to the 'whole system' and do not focus on industry sub sectors in isolation.
• To ensure that challenges are truly visionary and build on past and current research programmes which address the identified need.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL https://www.plymouth.ac.uk/research/coast-engineering-research-group/ore-supergen-hub
 
Description Presentation of key findings to Scottish Government 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Presentation of the key findings of the research to Scottish Government
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description SNH Sharing Good Practice Dealing with uncertainty in the Marine Environment 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Sharing Good Practice Dealing with uncertainty in the Marine Environment - a range of short interactive sessions (and repeat) sessions to explain the potential routes to assessing the impact of renewable developments to industry, NGOs, and other academic disciplines. There were subsequent invites to give this overview to JNCC personal.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Seminar at NOC 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact Gave a seminar about my research to staff and students at the University of Liverpool, as part of a seminar series organised by the National Oceanographic Centre.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Seminar at NOC Liverpool 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Study participants or study members
Results and Impact Seminar title: "Turbidity on the European Shelf: 20th Century trends and future changes caused by large-scale tidal energy". Presented by Dr Robert Wilson
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description TeraWatt/Ecowatt2050 Steering Group Meetings 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact A formal Steering Group to which TeraWatt and EcoWatt2050 report every 6 months on progress to Steering Group Members who represent the developer and regulatory community.

Many useful suggestions and offers of assistance arising during meetings have been followed up with fruitful results (e.g. comparisons of our research with cfd approaches).
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2012,2013,2014,2015,2016
 
Description Workshop each year in June 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact The workshop provides a one week intensive discussion on the research in TeraWatt and EcoWatt2050 to which developers, regulatory authorities, software developers as well as those involved in the Consortia are invited to attend. Additionally linked PhD research in each partner organisation is usually well represented. The input from developers and regulatory authorities has been particularly useful in shaping the research and methods applied.

One particular outcome has been the recommendations to software developers on future needs for the incorporation of wave and tidal energy extraction within the models developed using these.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2012,2013,2014,2015,2016