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Tribal Energy and Environmental Information Clearinghouse: Environmental resources for tribal energy development
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Hydrokinetic Energy Facility Operation: Resource Requirements and Impact Sources

Hydrokinetic energy facility operation could potentially affect marine and aquatic life, seabirds, benthic ecosystems, and coastal sedimentary processes.

No additional land-disturbing activities and associated impacts are anticipated during the operations phase. Routine operations are mostly automatic, with remote operator monitoring. Each device would require major maintenance every year or two, with a complete overhaul every ten years. The following factors could give rise to environmental impacts:

  • Acreage — The portion of the ocean surface that would actually be occupied by hydrokinetic facilities would be a small fraction of the total area of the wave farm, tidal farm, or river facility. Onshore land area associated with facility operations would likely be less than that required for construction.

    The wetted area behind a barrage facility would be the same as that prior to construction; however, the amount of time portions of the area are flooded would be extended because of the controlled outflow to generate electricity and may lead to changes in the aquatic environment.
  • Emissions — Emissions would include pollutants from the operation of the maintenance vessels and onboard diesel equipment and fugitive dust from vehicle travel on unpaved roads along the transmission line right-of-way.
  • Waste Generation — Potential wastes generated would include bilge and ballast waters, garbage (trash and debris), domestic wastes, sanitary wastes, small amounts of gear oil and lubricating oils, paints or coatings for corrosion control, lubricants contained in the components of each hydrokinetic energy device, and possibly hydraulic fluids.
  • Water Needs — Small amounts of water would be needed for routine maintenance; potable water would be required for the maintenance workforce.
  • Workforce — Operations would be monitored and controlled remotely. A permanent maintenance crew of about 20 would be required both on-ship and at the dock for ocean facilities. The maintenance crew for river and barrage facilities would be smaller.
  • Utility and Emergency Power Requirements — There would be no additional utility requirements.