Collaborative initiative for monitoring the environmental effects of ocean energy development

Duration: Since 2010


Ocean energy – which includes systems for recovering energy from tidal streams, waves, temperature and salinity differentials – is an emerging industrial sector facing regulatory challenges associated with potential environmental issues, around which there is a high degree of uncertainty. It is in this context that the collaborative initiative OES-Environmental was launched in January 2010 (initially as Annex IV) by the International Energy Agency’s Ocean Energy Programme (IEA-OES).


To collect, synthesise and disseminate as widely as possible existing knowledge on the effects of ocean energy development on the marine environment in order to contribute to the prioritisation of research themes and the sustainability of projects.

Scientific and technical contents

  • Creation of a public database accessible via the Tethys web platform and containing the various information collected on the environmental impacts of ocean energy.
  • Preparation of scientific syntheses on ocean energy and the environment on an international scale (state of the art, recommendations, and fact sheets) and in particular the State of the Science Report, the new edition of which was published in June 2020.
  • Development of the data transferability matrix for authorised ocean energy projects and the risk removal approach.
  • Organisation of webinars and workshops to strengthen interactions between the various industrial, academic and institutional stakeholders in the sector.


The OES-Environmental initiative is led by the US. Department of Energy (DOE), in partnership with the US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) and the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Its operational implementation is carried out by the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL). Based on a principle of international collaboration, this initiative currently brings together 15 countries spread over the 4 continents.

In 2018, France Energies Marines joined the scientific contributors to OES-Environmental. As such, the Institute takes part in the meetings organised every three months to update French news. It also participates in the scientific and environmental mediation work conducted by the PNNL (e.g. contribution to the State of the Science Report, to the transfer of information to the French sector).


Fact sheet (PDF)

State of the science report 2020

Photo credit: The Other Kev / Pixabay

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