Social and ecological impacts of marine energy development

Paul Bonar, Ian Bryden, Alastair Borthwick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

100 Citations (Scopus)


For marine energy to be truly sustainable, its social and ecological impacts must be identified and measured by which to mitigate adverse effects established before devices are deployed in large arrays. To inform future
research and encourage environmentally-sensitive developments, this review aims to identify the most
significant social and ecological issues associated with wave and tidal current energy generation. Modifications to wave climates, flow patterns, and marine habitats, particularly through increased underwater noise and
collision risk, are identified as key ecological issues. Social acceptance of renewable energy is found to be closely linked to the level of stakeholder involvement and the public perception of renewable energy. The review
concludes with a call for a more strategic and collaborative research effort between developers, academia, and the public sector to improve environmental monitoring standards and best practices for device and array design.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)486-495
Number of pages10
JournalRenewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews
Early online date30 Mar 2015
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2015


  • Marine energy
  • Wave energy
  • Tidal current energy
  • Social impact
  • Ecological impact
  • Environmental impact


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