May 21, 2010
Exponent Principal Scientist Dr. William Bailey is the co-author of “Effects of EMFs from Undersea Power Cables on Elasmobranchs and Other Marine Species,” at the 2010 WindPower Conference and Exhibition, May 23–25, in Dallas, Texas. His co- author Dr. Ann Pembroke from Normandeau Associates Inc. is making the presentation.
To evaluate the potential for environmental effects from electromagnetic fields (EMF) from undersea power cables in the marine environment, it is important to characterize the intensity and spatial extent of exposure to EMF; determine which marine organisms are capable of sensing electric or magnetic fields; identify thresholds for specific responses; and review the life history and behavior of EMF-sensitive species to determine if exposure above the threshold is likely. This information was used to estimate the likelihood of effects from undersea cables and to identify data gaps and potential mitigation opportunities.
The purpose of this project, funded by the Minerals Management Service (MMS), was multifold:
- Describe potential EMFs from existing AC and DC power cables of different configurations to allow characterization of future cables;
- List marine species potentially sensitive to EMF in specific areas of the US Outer Continental Shelf and identify species of concern;
- Evaluate evidence of EMF-sensitivity in these species;
- Review options for mitigating EMFs; and
- Suggest areas for further research.
This presentation will provide the preliminary results of an ongoing extensive literature survey and data analysis designed to give MMS a comprehensive basis for evaluating proposed offshore wind projects under NEPA.