Currently, although environmental risks associated with the deployment and operation of single MRE devices are very low, the uncertainties associated with commercial arrays will require investigation as larger arrays are deployed.
A risk-based approach to survey and consenting is an element of Adaptive Management (AM), which in turn is a structured process that enables learning by doing and adapting based on what is learned. This is an important process to implement when environmental impacts uncertainty exists, to better guide monitoring activities towards risks (and impacts) quantification. Building on work carried out for RiCORE project, this report presents an assessment to understand how an effective risk-based approach can be implemented during the licensing process and during the environmental monitoring follow up of a wave energy project in Portugal and Spain. The results of two workshops held with key stakeholders involved in the consenting process in both countries are presented to support this analysis. Outcomes show the implementation of a risk-based approach could be implemented on two levels: in the legal framework and in the licensing and post-installation operational procedures.
Advancing the use of risk-based approaches for MRE will require the development of mechanisms that minimize financial risks for developers, while assuring adequate protection of the marine environment and receptors, which may require investments by governments to gather data that will assist with large-scale planning and management of marine resources. Additionally, the adoption of such approach requires long term commitment and relies on strong relationships and clear communication from all parties.