The consenting of Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) projects has been cited as one of the main non-technological barriers to the commercial development of this sector due to the current uncertainties regarding the environmental effects created by ORE technologies. Uncertainties primarily stem from a lack or poor level of knowledge about both the baseline conditions of the receiving environment and the impacts of technologies on each individual environmental receptor. In some instances, the key issue may be getting the scientific information to the decision and policy makers. These factors can be exacerbated by under-developed Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) guidance and the difficulties in how to comprehend unknowns in regulatory frameworks for ORE.
To address these non-technological hurdles, the objective of the RiCORE project is to promote the deployment of ORE in the European Union (EU) by reducing the time and cost taken to consent ORE projects through the development of a risk-based approach to consenting processes. A risk-based approach to consenting and determining what information is required to support the process, e.g. environmental survey data, is an element of Adaptive Management (AM): a structured process that enables learning by doing and adaptation based on what is learned. The goal of AM is to reduce scientific uncertainty. A risk-based approach is any approach that seeks to inform decision making through an understanding of the scientific uncertainties and associated consequences in terms of likelihood and magnitude of potential impact. The Survey Deploy and Monitor (SDM) policy implemented by Marine Scotland is an example of a risk-based approach with respect to project consenting and AM adopts a risk-based approach to reducing scientific uncertainties.
This deliverable will identify the key components of an AM approach and the underlying legal and institutional challenges that may affect its implementation. The ricore-project.eu 6 literature would appear to utilise the term AM more than risk-based management and consequently the former is used most frequently in this report whilst the latter is the focus of the RiCORE project. This deliverable aims to assist regulators and developers with the design and implementation of an AM approach that can progress ORE projects towards commercial scale development.