SOWFIA: Learning from Impact Assessments of European wave energy developments


Title: SOWFIA: Learning from Impact Assessments of European wave energy developments
Publication Date:
January 01, 2011
Document Number: ICES CM 2011/S:18
Pages: 13
Publisher: International Council for the Exploration of the Sea
Technology Type:

Document Access

Website: External Link
Attachment: Access File
(6 MB)


O'Hagan, A.; Leeney, R.; Conley, D.; Holmes, B.; Olivares, C.; Osta, V.; Greaves, D. (2011). SOWFIA: Learning from Impact Assessments of European wave energy developments. Report by University College Cork, University of Plymouth, and Inabensa. pp 13.

The lack of coordinated policy for environmental impact assessment (EIA) at offshore energy sites has been identified as a hindrance to the growth of the wave energy industry. It may simultaneously result in lack of effective and cohesive EIA monitoring. The SOWFIA Project brings together ten European partners who have an interest in planned wave farm test centres, incorporating 15 existing wave power sites. The project encourages the sharing and consolidation of wave energy development approval processes, EIA best practices for offshore wave energy conversion developments. Key objectives are: to identify barriers and accelerators in existing EIA processes in EU member states; to assess EIA focuses and methodologies at wave energy sites, and to make recommendations for the development of streamlined project approval processes. To date, the project has produced a catalogue of wave energy sites across Europe, which also summarises European targets for renewable energy and provides an overview of the member states’ action plans for ocean energy. An inventory of EIA data sets being collected at European wave energy sites is currently in progress and will result in a data management platform facilitating an analysis of current impact detection capabilities. These outputs will be invaluable in streamlining the EIA process to ensure environmental protection and faster, more economically effective wave energy project development in the future. Future work will include workshops to examine barriers to the industry and a socio-economic study to examine public perceptions of offshore energy developments. 

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