The OES-Environmental 2020 State of the Science Report: Environmental Effects of Marine Renewable Energy Development Around the World builds on and serves as an update and a complement to the 2013 Final Report for Phase 1 of OES-Environmental and the 2016 State of the Science Report. Its content reflects the most current and pertinent published information about interactions of marine renewable energy (MRE) devices and associated infrastructure with the animals and habitats that make up the marine environment. It has been developed and reviewed by over 60 international experts and scientists from around the world as part of an ongoing effort supported by the OES collaboration that operates within the International Technology Cooperation Framework of the International Energy Agency (IEA).
The 2020 State of the Science Report consists of 14 chapters which can be downloaded as a whole or individually. Download Chapter 11: Marine Spatial Planning and Marine Renewable Energy here. Download the Chapter 11 Supplementary Material here.
The growth of MRE will result in the increasing use of marine space and the potential for conflict with existing ocean uses, both of which can be addressed, in part, through implementation of marine spatial planning (MSP). MSP seeks to manage competing marine uses while balancing environmental, social, and economic interests to support sustainable development of the oceans. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization defines MSP as “a public process of analyzing and allocating the spatial and temporal distribution of human activities in marine areas to achieve ecological, economic, and social objectives that are usually specified through a political process.” The successful implementation of MSP has the potential to increase transparency and certainty for industry, improve environmental protection, reduce sectoral conflicts, and provide opportunities for synergies.
Approaches to MSP vary by country and sometimes within countries. The 15 nations making up the OES-Environmental initiative were surveyed about their MSP practices in relation to MRE development. Their practices varied widely from intentional inclusion of MRE in MSP processes, to application of MSP principles without a formal MSP plan, to the lack of MSP used in MRE development. Many countries have developed and implemented tools to support MSP at a variety of scales, including spatial management tools and tools based on geospatial data organized into geographic information systems. Public involvement in MSP also varies among countries; some countries encourage public and stakeholder participation at early development stages, while other countries involve the public at later stages or to a lesser extent. This variability can be attributed to factors such as differing policy drivers, government priorities, and government operational challenges.
The Short Science Summary for the chapter is available here.