There is a growing body of knowledge from research studies and monitoring of marine renewable energy (MRE) developments that is yielding some indication of the level of risk associated with environmental, social, and economic effects of MRE. This evidence can reduce the uncertainty and aid in retiring certain environmental and other effects that may be low risk to marine animals, habitats, or communities from small-scale MRE developments, a process deemed “risk retirement”. The risk retirement process helps determine which interactions of MRE devices and the marine environment are better understood and can be considered low risk, and therefore need not be fully investigated for every small-scale MRE project. Rather, MRE regulators, advisors, and developers may rely on what is known from already consented projects, from related research studies, or from findings from analogous offshore industries. Risk retirement is an international effort that brings together knowledge from the MRE community including research endeavors and observations from MRE projects across many nations. Risk retirement does not take the place of any existing regulatory processes, nor will it completely replace the need for environmental data collection and impact assessments before and after MRE device deployment. When larger arrays of MRE devices are planned, or when new information comes to light, these risks can be revisited and new decisions can be made about the level of risk that might allow for retirement. To apply the risk retirement process during consenting procedures, OES-Environmental has created a series of documents, called Guidance Documents for Risk Retirement.
Click on individual boxes of the image below to view components of the guidance documents. Those marked in color are either available or currently being drafted, while those marked in grey will be drafted in the next phase of development. Starting with the background document for context is highly recommended.
The guidance documents include:
- A background document that provides:
- Descriptions of the four regulatory categories relevant for MRE consenting and licensing: species and populations at risk, habitat loss or alteration, effects on water quality, and effects on social and economic systems; and
- A framework that depicts the application of risk retirement to consenting processes.
- Country-specific documents providing the MRE regulatory context for each of the OES-Environmental countries
- Stressor-specific documents