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Environmental Impacts of Extracting Energy from the Ocean

COURSE NO: C07-010
Environmental Impacts of Extracting Energy from the Ocean
Course Highlights

The online engineering PDH purpose of this course is to describe these environmental concerns and identify mitigation strategies that might be implemented.


Energy can be extracted from the motion of waves, tides, rivers, ocean currents, and the temperature differences between water at the ocean surface and water far below.  In the search for sustainable energy sources, these marine and "hydrokinetic" (concerned with kinetic energy of the motion of water) technologies are attracting increasing attention.  As these technologies are studied more, however, many potential environmental concerns have come about.


Plant and animal habitats will be altered when wave heights or velocities are changed.  Bottom-dwelling organisms will be affected by sediment transport and deposition.  Marine construction activities will generate underwater sounds sufficiently loud to drive away or actually kill some species of animals.  Electromagnetic fields associated with generating devices and cables may interfere with species that depend on sensing electric fields for identifying prey or on sensing magnetic fields for navigation.  Anti-biofouling coatings applied to structures may be toxic to some species.  Moving turbine blades may strike and kill fish just as wind turbines kill birds.  The transfer of large volumes of water between the ocean surface and depth will affect water temperatures, proportions of dissolved solids, nutrient content, and gas concentrations. 


This 7 PDH online course is intended for civil, mechanical, and electrical engineers concerned with the design and construction of marine and hydrokinetic energy technologies.

Learning Objectives

This PE continuing education course is intended to provide you with the following specific knowledge and skills:

  • Learning about alteration of currents and waves caused by hydrokinetic technologies
  • Understanding the issue of alteration of bottom substrates, sediment transport, and sediment deposition
  • Learning about the changes in benthic (bottom of the water body) habitats
  • Understanding the principles and effects on animals of underwater noise
  • Understanding the effects on animals of electromagnetic fields
  • Understanding the need for care in introducing chemicals such as oils or anti-fouling coatings into the marine environment
  • Knowing the danger of injuries and fatalities related to the striking of animals by moving blades
  • Learning about the side effects of the need to transfer large quantities of water between ocean depths in ocean thermal energy conversion
  • Learning about mitigation strategies for the different types of energy extraction devices
Course Document

In this professional engineering CEU course, you need to review the course document which is based on the U. S. Department of Energy document, "Report to Congress on the Potential Environmental Effects of Marine and Hydrokinetic Energy Technologies," December, 2009.

To view, print and study the course document, please click on the following link(s):
Environmental Impacts of Extracting Energy from the Ocean (2.4 MB)
Course Quiz
Once you complete your course review, you need to take a multiple-choice quiz consisting of thirty five (35) questions to earn 7 PDH credits. The quiz will be based on this USDOE publication.
The minimum passing score is 70%. There is no time limit on the quiz, and you can take it multiple times until you pass at no additional cost.
Certificate of Completion

Upon successful completion of the quiz, print your Certificate of Completion instantly. (Note: if you are paying by check or money order, you will be able to print it after we receive your payment.) For your convenience, we will also email it to you. Please note that you can log in to your account at any time to access and print your Certificate of Completion.

To buy the course and take the quiz, please click on: