environmental & ecological services
In 2011 MERC joined forces with the Irish Whale and Dolphin group and ANIAR Ecology to form “Marine Energy Environmental Research” (MEER). The aim of MEER is to focus on the research gaps and knowledge needs required for the development of the wave energy industry in Ireland, while ensuring the favourable conservation status of marine habitats and species. The Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) have been studying the potential impacts on marine mammals and megafauna, ANIAR Ecology on seabirds and Marine Environmental Resource Conservation Consultants (MERC) on marine benthos.

The development of wave energy is still in its infancy both globally and in Ireland. The aim of MEER is conduct the necessary research to allow knowledge-based assessment and informed decision making of the potential impacts and benefits of wave energy on Marine habitats and speciecs.

In late 2011 MEER became an associate partner of the Westwave project. The WestWave project was set up as a collaborative effort, pulling together the broad skills of the industry. In this way, knowledge and learning can be shared to prepare for larger projects in the future. The project is led by the electricity utility, ESB, who will seek other strategic utility partners. ESB has a well-established ocean energy development group capable of successfully delivering the WestWave project. To deliver the WestWave project the project leader, ESB, has formed the WestWave consortium, which includes the leading wave energy technology developers from Ireland and abroad. Supply chain companies and other industry representatives are involved in the consortium as Associate Partners, providing support and services to the project. Working in collaboration, this team will build and share knowledge about how to safely design, construct, deploy and operate a wave farm in Irish waters
MEER is a multi-disciplinary team of Irish marine ecologists, which have begun the process of building the necessary capacity and knowledge base for the ecological assessment of marine energy sites in Ireland and internationally. MEER will continue to assess knowledge gaps and research needs, based on sound scientific baseline data, to ensure the sustainable use of the marine environment and make informed policy decisions for wave energy developments.