The development of a Marine Renewable Energy (MRE) sector is increasingly becoming one of the key low-carbon energy solutions for coastal nations in their drive both to tackle the impacts of a changing climate and to provide energy security in the face of this global challenge. While MRE development has led to significant growth in the design, testing and deployment of novel technologies, the challenge of gaining permissions to test and deploy these installations and the lack of detailed quantitative data as to their impact on the environment has represented a block to progress. While certainty about the impacts of the devices is some way off, there is an opportunity in the meantime to revisit consenting processes in order to determine whether changes to these could help to release this bottleneck.
SafeWAVE Deliverable 5.2 explored the use of ecological or environmental Risk Based Approach (RBA) in the MRE development context by reviewing the current state of knowledge around the use of RBAs, analysing five key RBAs (in short, the Environmental Risk Evaluation System, The Ecological Risk Assessment framework, Risk Retirement, Survey Deploy Monitor and ISO. See further details in the list in Section 5 below) that have been developed and finding the crosswalks and differences between them. Ultimately that deliverable made recommendations as to what work might be required to progress and make the use of RBA in consenting processes a practical reality.
This deliverable built on the work of SafeWAVE Deliverable 5.2 and on the depth of knowledge provided by the body of scientific work behind the five most relevant RBAs. The five RBAs were examined together, and a “simple stepwise approach” was created which reduced the complexity of the RBA but ensured that all the detailed scientific work was considered. The simple stepwise approach is presented here, each step is explained at a high level, and the links to the five core approaches are also shown.