A review of potential impacts of submarine power cables on the marine environment: Knowledge gaps, recommendations and future directions

Type Article
Date 2018-11
Language English
Author(s) Taormina Bastien1, 2, Bald Juan3, Want Andrew4, Thouzeau Gerard5, Lejart Morgane1, Desroy NicolasORCID6, Carlier AntoineORCID2
Affiliation(s) 1 : France Energies Marines, Technopole Brest Iroise,15 Rue Johannes Kepler, F-29200 Brest, France.
2 : IFREMER, Ctr Bretagne, DYNECO Lab Ecol Benth, ZI Pointe Diable CS 10070, F-29280 Plouzane, France.
3 : AZTI Tecnalia, Marine Res Div, Muelle de la Herrera S-N, Gipuzkoa 20110, Spain.
4 : Heriot Watt Univ, Int Ctr Isl Technol, Stromness, Orkney, Scotland.
5 : CNRS UBO, IUEM, UMR LEMAR 6539, Technopole Brest Iroise,4 Rue Dumont Urville, F-29280 Plouzane, France.
6 : IFREMER, Lab Environm Ressources Bretagne Nord, 38 Rue Port Blanc, F-35801 Dinard, France.
Source Renewable & Sustainable Energy Reviews (1364-0321) (Pergamon-elsevier Science Ltd), 2018-11 , Vol. 96 , P. 380-391
DOI 10.1016/j.rser.2018.07.026
WOS© Times Cited 93
Keyword(s) Submarine power cables, Marine renewable energy, Environmental impacts, Ecosystem functioning, Benthic habitats

Submarine power cables (SPC) have been in use since the mid-19th century, but environmental concerns about them are much more recent. With the development of marine renewable energy technologies, it is vital to understand their potential impacts. The commissioning of SPC may temporarily or permanently impact the marine environment through habitat damage or loss, noise, chemical pollution, heat and electromagnetic field emissions, risk of entanglement, introduction of artificial substrates, and the creation of reserve effects. While growing numbers of scientific publications focus on impacts of the marine energy harnessing devices, data on impacts of associated power connections such as SPC are scarce and knowledge gaps persist. The present study (1) examines the different categories of potential ecological effects of SPC during installation, operation and decommissioning phases and hierarchizes these types of interactions according to their ecological relevance and existing scientific knowledge, (2) identifies the main knowledge gaps and needs for research, and (3) sets recommendations for better monitoring and mitigation of the most significant impacts. Overall, ecological impacts associated with SPC can be considered weak or moderate, although many uncertainties remain, particularly concerning electromagnetic effects.

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Taormina Bastien, Bald Juan, Want Andrew, Thouzeau Gerard, Lejart Morgane, Desroy Nicolas, Carlier Antoine (2018). A review of potential impacts of submarine power cables on the marine environment: Knowledge gaps, recommendations and future directions. Renewable & Sustainable Energy Reviews, 96, 380-391. Publisher's official version : https://doi.org/10.1016/j.rser.2018.07.026 , Open Access version : https://archimer.ifremer.fr/doc/00454/56542/