Concerns about the potential effects of tidal turbines and wave energy devices on the marine environment continue to slow siting and permitting/consenting of single devices and arrays worldwide. While research studies and early results from post-installation monitoring over the past decade have informed interactions between marine renewable energy (MRE) devices, marine animals, and habitats, regulators still demonstrate considerable reluctance to accelerate the permitting/consenting process for devices and arrays. Furthermore, the MRE industry is struggling with the high costs of baseline assessments and post-installation monitoring, as well as long timelines for obtaining permits, which leads to uncertainty and risk related to project financing. Regulators require assessment and monitoring information to allow them to carry out the necessary analyses to describe, permit/consent, and manage the environmental risks associated with new MRE technologies and new uses of ocean space. One way to reduce risks to the industry and the environment and to allow for acceleration of the permitting/consenting process could be to transfer learning, analyses, and data sets from one country to another, among projects, and across jurisdictional boundaries. In addition, data are collected around early-stage MRE devices using many different methods, instruments, and measurement scales. If similar parameters and accessible methods of data collection were used for baseline assessments and post-installation monitoring around all early-stage devices and MRE developments, the results would be more readily comparable. This comparability would lead to a decrease in scientific uncertainty and support a common understanding of the risk of MRE devices to the marine environment. This in turn would facilitate more efficient and shorter permitting/consenting processes, which would decrease the financial risk for MRE project development. As a means of addressing the concept of transferring data (information, learning, analyses, and data sets) among projects and collecting data consistently, Annex IV has developed a data transferability process that has been socialized with the MRE community, which includes regulators, industry, developers, consultants, and researchers.
The data transferability process consists of five components:
- A Data Transferability Framework brings together data sets in an organized fashion, compares the applicability of each data set for use on other projects, and guides the process of data transfer
- A Data Collection Consistency Table provides preferred measurement methods or processes, reporting units, and the most common methods of analysis or interpretation and use of data
- A Monitoring Data Sets Discoverability Matrix allows a practitioner to discover data sets based on the approach presented in the Framework
- Best Management Practices (BMPs) include five BMPs related to data transferability and collection consistency
- An Implementation Plan presents an approach for implementing and applying the data transferability process.
This report documents the background and development of the data transferability process and associated components and summarizes the next steps needed to successfully implement and apply the data transferability process.