Bury electricity cables to reduce electromagnetic fields
Overall effectiveness category No evidence found (no assessment)
Number of studies: 0
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Background information and definitions
Emission of electromagnetic fields is associated with electricity production during the operational phase of offshore renewable energy installations (Gill 2005; Inger et al. 2009). In particular, the electromagnetic fields emitted by subsea cables (transmitting power between devices and the mainland) have been shown to affect benthic species sensitive to electromagnetic fields, including subtidal invertebrates such as the edible crab Cancer pagurus (Scott et al. 2019) and the American lobster, Hommarus americanus (Hutchison et al. 2018). Industry standards and good practice require that all subsea cables in the water of up to 1,500 m should be buried in the seabed (Carter et al. 2009). Burying subsea cables in an area might help reduce the effects of electromagnetic fields on subtidal benthic invertebrates.
Carter L., Burnett D., Drew S., Marle G., Hagadorn L., Bartlett McNeil D. & Irvine N. (2009) Submarine cables and the oceans – connecting the world. UNEP-WCMC Biodiversity Series No. 31. ICPC/UNEP/UNEP-WCMC.
Gill A.B. (2005) Offshore renewable energy: ecological implications of generating electricity in the coastal zone. Journal of Applied Ecology, 42, 605–615.
Hutchison Z.L., Sigray P., He H., Gill A.B., King J. & Gibson C. (2018) Electromagnetic Field (EMF) impacts on elasmobranch (shark, rays, and skates) and American lobster movement and migration from direct current cables. Sterling (VA): US Department of the Interior, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management. OCS Study BOEM, 3.
Inger R., Attrill M.J., Bearhop S., Broderick A.C., Grecian W.J., Hodgson D.J., Mills C., Sheehan E., Votier S.C., Witt M.J. & Godley B.J. (2009) Marine renewable energy: potential benefits to biodiversity? An urgent call for research. Journal of Applied Ecology, 46,1145–1153.
Scott K., Harsanyi P. & Lyndon A.R. (2019) Understanding the effects of electromagnetic field emissions from Marine Renewable Energy Devices (MREDs) on the commercially important edible crab, Cancer pagurus (L.). Frontier in Marine Science Conference Abstract: IMMR'18 | International Meeting on Marine Research 2018.
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This Action forms part of the Action Synopsis:Subtidal Benthic Invertebrate Conservation