The Triton Initiative is reducing barriers to testing marine energy devices by researching and developing monitoring technologies and methods to understand potential environmental impacts.

Triton logo over waves

The Triton Initiative's mission is to help reduce barriers to testing and permitting marine energy devices by researching and developing environmental monitoring technologies and methods to understand potential effects to marine ecosystems. To do this, Triton supports industry partners, innovates technologies, and performs field tests to explore scientifically defensible marine energy monitoring methods and instrumentation.  

Illustration of marine energy devices and environmental monitoring technologies. Illustration by Stephanie King.
Environmental monitoring technologies for studying Triton Field Trials stressor research topics, including underwater noise, collision risk, electromagnetic fields, and changes in habitat. (Illustration by Stephanie King | Pacific Northwest National Laboratory)

Advancing marine energy environmental monitoring

Marine energy is a broad term for harnessing the energy in the ocean's tides, waves, and currents to produce a clean and consistent electrical power source. 

A key to the advancement and widespread use of this renewable resource is understanding potential environmental impacts of marine energy devices and arrays. Developing and testing environmental monitoring technologies provides relevant data on the potential impacts marine energy systems may have on the environment to help the regulatory process move as smoothly as possible and progress the industry in an environmentally responsible manner. To address these needs, the Department of Energy's Water Power Technologies Office developed the Triton Initiative, or Triton. 

Triton's many projects research and develop technologies and methodologies for monitoring underwater noise, electromagnetic fields, marine animal interactions, changes in marine habitats, integrated marine sensor packages, and much more. 

The marine energy research projects range from monitoring fish behavior around tidal turbines, to determining the best methods for characterizing underwater noise generated by marine energy devices and measuring and characterizing electromagnetic fields from energized cables and devices. With each project, Triton researchers strive to improve marine energy environmental monitoring and mitigation practices through testing and development, with the objective to reduce costs and provide valuable data to inform the marine energy industry's environmental permitting processes. Triton's projects and innovative solutions inform the marine energy industry’s efforts to help make sure the deployment of marine energy devices is safe and environmentally sustainable. 

If just one-tenth of the available marine energy resources in the United States were utilized, it would equate to 5.7% of our nation’s current electricity generation—enough energy to power 22 million homes. (U.S. Energy Information Administration 2020)

Members of the Triton team introduce the project and Triton Field Trials research in the Triton Talks webinar series.

Read Triton’s special issue of the Journal of Marine Science and Engineering, titled "Technology and Methods for Environmental Monitoring of Marine Renewable Energy


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