The nascent nature of offshore renewable energy (ORE) technologies coupled with the existence of considerable data gaps and uncertainty on the receiving marine environment demands a paradigm shift in our approach to assessing and managing the impacts of the ORE sector on marine Natura 2000 sites. This paper investigates how the ecosystem-based principles of resilience and adaptive management can be best applied under the appropriate assessment process of the Habitats Directive to reconcile the increasing demand for offshore renewables and biodiversity conservation. In so doing, it challenges the strict interpretation of the precautionary principle which has been crystallised by the EU judiciary under the regime of Article 6(3) of the Habitats Directive and suggests embracing adaptive management as a better methodology to enhance the outcomes of the appropriate assessment in the face of uncertain impacts on Natura 2000 sites and their qualifying features. The aim of this study is solution-based: it seeks to improve the implementation of the assessment procedure of the Habitats Directive before it truly becomes an ‘obstacle course’ for offshore renewable energy developers.
Sustainably reconciling offshore renewable energy with Natura 2000 sites: An interim adaptive management framework
Title: Sustainably reconciling offshore renewable energy with Natura 2000 sites: An interim adaptive management framework
June 01, 2019
Journal: Energy Policy
Le Lièvre, C. (2019). Sustainably reconciling offshore renewable energy with Natura 2000 sites: An interim adaptive management framework. Energy Policy, 129, 491-501.