The marine renewable energy (MRE) industry is young—most technology development and testing for tidal and wave devices has taken place over the past 10–15 years. As wave and tidal devices continue to be deployed for demonstration, testing, and pilot projects, and the earliest commercial arrays are being developed, regulators around the world are requiring that a significant amount of data be collected to determine the effects of devices and systems on marine animals, habitats, and ecosystems. The collection of pre- and post-installation monitoring data places substantial cost burdens on device and project developers, threatening the financial viability of this young industry.
This paper describes the state of knowledge that drives the consenting (permitting) processes for the MRE industry in most of the Ocean Energy Systems Technology Collaboration Programme (OES) nations, and how that level of knowledge is, or is not, driving the processes for consenting projects and moving the industry forward. There are of course many differences among the levels of acceptance and application of this knowledge. This paper attempts to summarize the current status and suggest pathways for moving the industry forward through efficient consenting processes.