The wave energy industry is an innovative and developing industry which aims to contribute to meeting EU renewable energy targets. Consenting processes across the EU and Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) legislation were not designed with the wave energy industry in mind. During SOWFIA Work Package 2 wave energy developers (wave energy test centre developers, device and project developers) and regulators with experience of the wave energy consenting process have identified barriers and accelerators (things which are working well), based on their experiences to date. These barriers and accelerators have been compiled and analysed in this document along with suggestions provided by these key actors for improving the situation.
It is important to note that only a relatively small amount of wave energy capacity, in comparison to 2020 ocean energy targets for Member States, has been installed to date. This implies that the consenting process for wave energy developments in Member States has not yet been seriously tested. Wave energy capacity that has been installed has largely been single devices deployed at specially built wave energy test centres in different Member States. As such, any accelerators identified cannot yet be judged to be robust and although there is a possibility that some of the barriers identified will diminish as the sector expands, it is more judicious to assume that some, if not most, of the barriers discussed will become more serious as the size of proposed developments increases and their environmental impacts and effects on other users of marine areas also increase. With this in mind, recommendations are presented for ameliorating barriers in the consenting process in Europe. The barriers, accelerators and recommendations are presented within three thematic areas:
- Administrative Procedures
- Environmental Impacts (EIA Process and Environmental Monitoring)
- Human Dimensions