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EIMR International Conference 2017

Led by the University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI), Environmental Interactions of Marine Renewable Energy Technologies (EIMR) is an international conference hosted at different sites across the Scottish Highlands and Islands region.

The next conference will be held jointly in Orkney/ Caithness 24 – 27 April  2017, at an exciting time for the sector and the region as marine renewable devices are deployed.

The International Conference on the Environmental Interactions of Marine Energy Technologies aims to serve as a major forum for global researchers and professionals to come together to present their latest research, results, and ideas and strengthen relations between the emerging marine renewables industry, research laboratories, and universities.

The last EIMR conference was held 30th April - 1st May 2014 on the Isle of Lewis in the Hebrides, Scotland. Two hundred scientists from the UK, Europe, and North America came together at the An Lanntair Arts Centre in Stornoway, for two days of oral and poster presentations, with a series of workshops on closely related topics rounding out the week.

EIMR International Workshop 2016

EIMR hosted an International Workshop on 22nd February 2016, at Victoria Quay, Marine Scotland, Edinburgh, Scotland.

A one-day workshop (for an invited audience) was held in cooperation with Annex IV, ICIT Heriot Watt, ORJIP, ICOE 2016, Marine Scotland and MERIKA, and bought together the MRE community with the intent of furthering knowledge and standardizing approaches for monitoring and mitigation around MRE devices and arrays.

Theme 1: Biofouling

Theme Leader(s): University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI)

Lead Participant(s): Dr Jennifer Loxton (ERI, UHI), Dr Raeanne Miller (SAMS, UHI)

Summary: Submerged structures in the sea almost universally harbour communities of organisms growing on exposed surfaces, marine renewable energy devices included. This marine growth, or biofouling, is often unwanted from an engineering perspective, and can have serious consequences for the structural integrity, efficiency, and functioning of devices. Non-native species are also commonly found on man-made structures, making biofouling a risk for species invasions. At the same time, biofouling on submerged structures can serve to increase local biodiversity, with growth attracting animals to structures to seek food or shelter.

These contrasts make up the focus of this pre-ICOE workshop, where we will consider the positive and negative consequences of biofouling from both engineering and ecological perspectives. With representatives from both sectors, we aim to establish a balance of marine growth and marine growth removal/prevention which can minimise biofouling-related renewable energy device faults or failures while maximising the biodiversity and ecosystem benefits of a development. Such a balance could achieve substantial cost-saving within the industry, while highlighting and encouraging positive environmental outcomes.

Theme 2: Collision Risk

Theme Leader(s): Annex IV, Offshore Renewables Joint Industry Programme (ORJIP)

Lead Participant(s): Andrea Copping, Annex IV Technical Lead, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory; Ben Wilson, EIMR Steering Committee, University of Highlands and Islands, Scottish Association for Marine Science; Ian Hutchison, ORJIP Ocean Energy Secretariat Programme Manager, Aquatera Limited


Uncertainty regarding the potential for marine animal collisions with tidal turbines remains the greatest problem for consenting single turbines and arrays. Researchers, regulators, stakeholders and developers each has a set of contributions to make to resolving the issue, yet often those contributions are not well coordinated. The aim of this workshop is to develop a common understanding of this disconnect; to plan pathways for each group of participants to pursue after the workshop; and to set an agenda for future coordinated work that will bring the disparate understandings together. 

Theme 3: Coexistence

Theme Leader(s): Heriot-Watt University

Lead Participant(s): Dr Sandy Kerr; Dr Mike Bell; Ms Rebecca Grieve


Much of the discourse around the fishing industry and marine renewables has been characterized by the word “exclusion” - a separation of activities on the grounds of practicality and safety.  Many early consultations on marine energy quickly made the assumption that areas occupied by marine renewables would be given over to exclusive use.  This default perspective has various origins, including presumptions that the sea is unoccupied or that there is space for people to ‘budge-up’.  The reality is very different. Almost all coastal waters are subject to some fishing effort and ‘budging-up’ generally means moving into someone else’s space. 

The possible relationships between the fishing and renewable industries in any shared space fall into three possible categories: (i) where both operate independently of each other; (ii) where the existence of one provides benefits to the other (e.g. the creation of artificial reefs and new habitat) or (iii) symbiotic relationships where there is a shared benefit. The aim for this workshop is to identify the opportunities of, and the barriers to, coexistence.

The results of this workshop are available at ICOE 2016 document library.

EIMR 2014

EIMR 2014 was the second EIMR conference, following a very successful gathering in Kirkwall on Orkney, Scotland in 2012. It was held between 30th April - 1st May 2014 on the Isle of Lewis in the Hebrides, Scotland. Two hundred scientists from the UK, Europe, and North America came together at the An Lanntair Arts Centre in Stornoway, for two days of oral and poster presentations, with a series of workshops on closely related topics rounding out the week. The EIMR conference is rapidly becoming a major international gathering for researchers, regulators, and students who focus on understanding the potential environmental effects of marine energy development.

As wave and tidal energy developments emerge around the world, there continues to be knowledge gaps about interactions of these devices with ecological and physical processes in the marine environment. The emerging marine energy industry needs input from the research community to site and permit their developments; at the same time, these new developments presents the research community with rare opportunities to investigate interactions.

The oral presentation, papers and posters presented at EIMR 2014 are provided via this link to the Tethys website. Each paper or poster is listed by first author, along with a brief description. Most papers include an extended abstract, video of presentation slides, and an audio file of the presentation, all attached as downloadable pdfs. A few papers and sessions do not have complete audio or video files. Some posters are presented as downloadable pdfs as well.

EIMR 2014 Handbook

EIMR 2012

EIMR 2012 was the first EIMR conference and took place on Orkney, Scotland between 30th April and 4th May 2012.

EIMR 2012 Handbook

EIMR 2012 Oral Presentation Summary

EIMR 2012 Poster Presentation Summary

EIMR in context

As developments accelerate and fresh challenges emerge it has become clear there are gaps in our understanding, particularly around our knowledge of the interactions between these increasingly physical and ecologically complex devices and their environment. The extent of planned developments is extensive and there is limited resources and information available for certain topics (location and populations of species at sea, commercial fisheries and shipping, likelihood of collisions, etc). This presents the academic community with a unique opportunity to harness its significant capabilities to work alongside the ongoing technological development of marine renewables. This would allow the generation of a shared, holistic view where potentially negative impacts may be balanced through wider benefits to the environment and society in terms of subtle changes to habitats and hydrodynamic interactions with coastal areas. Such a view would contribute to a growing academic evidence base that can support the emergent industry in the marine renewables arena.

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For further details on the EIMR conference please contact us:

w: eimr.org


t: 01463 279586