In a new industry such as MRE, there may be interactions between devices and marine animals or habitats that regulators or stakeholders perceive as risky. In many instances, this perception of risk is due to the high degree of uncertainty that results from a paucity of data collected in the ocean. Because of this uncertainty, regulators continue to perceive MRE interactions to be of high risk and may take a precautionary approach during the consenting process of MRE devices and systems, requesting extensive pre and post-installation data to determine the significance and potential adverse environmental effects.
Consequently, this uncertainty about the potential environmental effects of MRE devices is one of the non-technological barrier to the progress of the marine renewable energy (MRE) industry that has been identified in the framework of the consenting procedures by the MRE industry sector, scientific community, etc.
One attempt to overcome this barrier is to integrate a risk-based approach as an element of Adaptive Management (AM) to these consenting procedures.
Thus, the aim of the present deliverable is to generate the necessary knowledge base to further evaluate the extent to which a risk-based approach can be incorporated in the current consenting procedures of wave energy projects in the particular case of Spain and Portugal that will be undertaken under Task 4.3 of the WESE project. For this purpose, two main tasks have been undertaken in the present deliverable:
a) A review of the consenting processes of MRE projects in Spain and Portugal.
b) An introduction to the general considerations of a risk-based approach and AM