ABSTRACT

The development of wave energy conversion has reached the pre-commercialization stage; with many developers ready for full-scale grid-connected deployment. In many cases developers are required to produce an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) to be granted permission for development of a site. This paper examines the differences and commonalities between EIA studies from the well-developed offshore wind (OW) industry and the less-developed wave energy sector, to highlight lessons learnt for OW that can be applied to wave energy developments.

INTRODUCTION

The potential contribution of wave energy towards future renewable energy goals has driven the design of Wave Energy Converters (WECs) with a wide range of different technological approaches (Cruz, 2008). As a consequence the development of pilot projects and test sites for the assessment and pre-commercialisation of WECs has been strongly encouraged. Deployment of devices, even in purpose-built test sites, is usually subject to an EIA, which is aimed to enable decision-makers to understand the positive and negative effects of WECs on the environment (SOWFIA, 2011a). EIA requirements are regulated by an EU directive, which is then applied at national level. Although device developers may argue that any detrimental environmental impact of WECs would be small; EIA approval has been requested in most of the EU states where WECs are being developed. To date, only a limited number of EIAs for wave energy developments have been carried out. Authorities and developers face recognized INTRODUCTION The potential contribution of wave energy towards future renewable energy goals has driven the design of Wave Energy Converters (WECs) with a wide range of different technological approaches (Cruz, 2008). As a consequence the development of pilot projects and test sites for the assessment and pre-commercialisation of WECs has been strongly encouraged. Deployment of devices, even in purpose-built test sites, is usually subject to an EIA, which is aimed to enable decision-makers to understand the positive and negative effects of WECs on the environment (SOWFIA, 2011a).

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