In Greek mythology, Triton is a god of the sea who guards an underwater world. It’s this image of protecting marine life that represents the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Water Power Technologies Office’s Triton Initiative.


The Triton Initiative was created to help the marine energy industry better understand the environmental impacts of marine energy devices. Triton supports projects focused on underwater noise, electromagnetic field measurements, studies of marine animal interaction, benthic habitat mapping techniques, and integrated sensor packages. This research ranges from monitoring animal behavior around tidal turbines to distinguishing between natural and device noise sources.  

PNNL leads the initiative from DOE's only marine research laboratory, the Marine Sciences Laboratory (MSL) in Sequim, Washington. Located at the mouth of Sequim Bay, MSL is equipped with facilities, technical expertise, and access to permitted testing sites for the deployment of devices. MSL’s staff, fleet of vessels, and scientific dive team provide support for each of the Triton projects during baseline testing, benchmarking improvements, and testing and development before final demonstration.

With this testing and development, Triton researchers strive to improve the technical performance of environmental monitoring devices. This will reduce the costs of these technologies and help streamline the marine energy industry’s environmental permitting processes.

To further work toward this mission, Triton Field Trials was developed as a continuation of Triton to advance knowledge around impacts of marine energy devices by improving environmental monitoring procedures and methodologies. Triton Field Trials work to advance environmental monitoring by identifying the main environmental stressors associated with marine energy devices and developing guidelines for monitoring those stressors.

Triton’s many efforts offer innovative solutions to help ensure deployment of marine energy devices is safe and environmentally sustainable.