Plymouth University’s £2m project on marine energy

A £2m project to look at the impact of wave energy schemes on the environment is being coordinated by the University of Plymouth. Experts will examine sites throughout Europe, including the wave hub off the Cornish coast.

They will study data to see if the developments are affecting marine life. Similar research has been carried out to assess wind turbines – but this is the first time wave energy has been scrutinised.

Research assistant Ruth Leeney said the project would meet EU legislation to assess the impacts. The study, paid for by the EU, is a three-year project and the researchers are expecting to release the results periodically.

Research assistant Ruth Leeney said: "There is no data at the moment to show us the impact of wave energy projects on the environment – it’s too early in the development of the industry."

The project is monitoring the structure of the seabed, animal populations and the strength of waves and tidal currents at many of the sites.

Plymouth University Professor Deborah Greaves said the project would help develop Europe’s plan for harvesting wave energy while safeguarding the marine environment.