SafeWAVE project (Streamlining the Assessment of Environmental Effects of Wave Energy)
The development of a Marine Renewable Energy (MRE) sector is increasingly becoming one of the key low-carbon energy solutions for coastal nations in their drive both to tackle the impacts of a changing climate and to provide energy security in the face of this global challenge. While MRE development has led to significant growth in the design, testing and deployment of novel technologies, the challenge of gaining permissions to test and deploy these installations and the lack of detailed quantitative data as to their impact on the environment has represented a block to progress. While certainty about the impacts of the devices is some way off, there is an opportunity in the meantime to revisit consenting processes in order to determine whether changes to these could help to release this bottleneck. SafeWAVE Deliverable 5.2 explored the use of ecological or environmental Risk Based Approach (RBA) in the MRE development context by reviewing the current state of knowledge around the use of RBAs, analysing five key RBAs (in short, the Environmental Risk Evaluation System, The Ecological Risk Assessment framework, Risk Retirement, Survey Deploy Monitor and ISO. See further details in the list in Section 5 below) that have been developed and finding the crosswalks and differences between them. Ultimately that deliverable made recommendations as to what work might be required to progress and make the use of RBA in consenting processes a practical reality. This deliverable built on the work of SafeWAVE Deliverable 5.2 and on the depth of knowledge provided by the body of scientific work behind the five most relevant RBAs. The five RBAs were examined together, and a “simple stepwise approach” was created which reduced the complexity of the RBA but ensured that all the detailed scientific work was considered. The simple stepwise approach is presented here, each step is explained at a high level, and the links to the five core approaches are also shown.
The ocean energy development is one of the main pillars of the EU Blue Growth strategy. However, while the technological development of devices is growing fast, their potential environmental effects are not well-known. The SafeWAVE project aims to improve the knowledge on the potential environmental impacts from Wave Energy projects. In the project scope, Work Package 2 aims to collect, process, analyse, and share environmental data related to four priority areas of research: i) Electromagnetic Fields, ii) Acoustics (noise), iii) Seafloor integrity, and iv) Fish communities. Four sites where Wave Energy Converters are operating in Portuguese, Spanish and French coastal waters will be monitored, representing different types of technology, different types of locations (onshore, nearshore, and offshore), and different types of project scales (single devices and arrays of devices), hence, different types and/or magnitudes of environmental impacts. The aim of the present report (Deliverable 2.5) is to present the work done related to the conditioning and tunning activities of ITSASDRONE (an autonomous marine surface drone), test and check its operational procedure and navigation system and, finally, explore the association between Wave Energy Converters and fish aggregations around the Penguin WEC-2 of WELLO Oy which was deployed off the coast Armintza, Basque Country, Spain in August 2021. On 19th of December 2021 the WEC was towed to harbour for inspection, maintenance, and repairs due to the detection on the 28th of November an alarm of leakage. Although the plan was to repair Penguin WEC-2 and bring it back to its localization in BiMEP area, after more than 10 months, the penguin is still in the port of Bilbao. We, therefore, decided to carry out the monitoring work around the HarshLab floating laboratory device of Tecnalia. Even if HarshLab could be considered as a good model of the possible reef or fish attraction effect due to its similar dimensions with the WECs, it does not have specific elements of the WECs that can intervene or affect this potential effect. Underwater noise generated by the moving parts of the harnessing machine inside the WEC, and the electromagnetic fields of the exporting electrical cables could generate an avoidance effect and compensate the attraction of the floating structures of the devices. According to the results of the project, the ITSASDRONE proved to be a viable autonomous vehicle for fish school monitoring under the conditions of this study. It still needs some technological improvement related to navigation system, but in general, the ITSADRONE meets the objectives for which it was conceived and could be an excellent monitoring technique due to its capacity to work remotely and in near shore areas. Schools of unidentified small pelagic fish were observed distributed throughout the water column, predominantly near the bottom in the device area. The acoustic sensors showed a relatively high abundance in the BiMEP area, in general as high or higher than in the access route from Armintza harbour. However, those results are preliminary result, and they should be considered as baseline information. Future studies are needed to further explore the association between WECs and fish aggregations.
In response to the EU Blue Growth strategy, the technology behind devices that collect and transform the marine energy is evolving in leaps and bounds. However, the potential environmental impacts derived from the installation, operation and decommissioning of such devices are not yet fully known. Hence, the main aim of the SafeWAVE project is to fill the knowledge gaps related to the environmental effects that may cause the Wave Energy projects. In the framework of this project, Work Package 2 aims to collect, process, analyse, and share environmental data from four priority areas of research: i) Electromagnetic Fields, ii) Acoustics (noise), iii) Seafloor integrity, and iv) Fish communities. Specifically, the objectives of Task 2.4 and this report derived from that are to: inform on the work undertaken to monitor seafloor integrity; describe the methods for monitoring and data analysis; and show the main results obtained. In order to fulfil such aims, three sites where WECs are operating in Portuguese, Spanish and French coastal waters were monitored. The WECs installed at each of the sites operate in the basis of different technologies, at different types of locations and at different project scales. Thus, this deliverable will also pay attention to the differences in the impacts caused by the disparities in the conditions.
The present report describes the process undertaken during the development of a model for the identification of suitable areas for the development of wave energy projects in the European Atlantic in the context of maritime spatial planning and its implementation into a web-based Decision Support Tool. The approach implemented is based on the previous work developed by Galparsoro et al. (2020) in the framework of WESE project (Wave Energy in Southern Europe; Project funded by the European Commission. Agreement number EASME/EMFF/2017/188.8.131.52/02/SI2.787640). The scope of such project was the development of a model and a decision support tool for the identification of the most suitable areas for the development and deploying of wave energy projects in the Portuguese and Spanish Atlantic area. As the objective of SafeWAVE is equivalent to that of the WESE project, the same approach was adopted, but modifications, adaptations and improvements were applied to fit with the objectives of SafeWAVE. In addition, the adaptation and improvement of the model was enriched by the consultation and discussion with WEC industrial developers and scientists. The objective of the workshop was to share and discuss the approach and assumptions made during the development and operationalisation of the site suitability model. The main focus was put on the structure and technical factors considered within the model. There was a general agreement on that the main factors were already considered but additional feedback was obtained in relation to information sources and the way such factors could be integrated into the model. In particular, regarding the wave energy resource and the estimation of the production capacity, the oceanographic conditions for construction and maintenance of the devices, the calculation of the levelized cost of energy (LCOE), as well as the other aspects related to the deployment of the farms such as depth, slope, seafloor type, distance to substation and distance to port. The conceptual model was then operationalized in a Bayesian Network. The spatial data to feed the model were obtained from different publicly available datasets. The geographical scope of the model is the European Atlantic region which covers the EEZs of Ireland, the UK, France, Spain and Portugal. Accounting for a total area of 3,676,970 km2. The model developed was implemented into a web-based decision support tool called VAPEM (https://aztidata.es/vapem/) and which was previously described by Galparsoro et al. (2020). The model presented here is still subjected to modifications and improvements. Preliminary results of the suitable areas for development of WEC farms will be contrasted with WEC developers and scientists to reach a consensus and a final model that will be used to produce the final suitability maps under Task 6.3.
The present document includes the guidelines to prepare the data source to upload it to the MARENDATA Platform. Before uploading a data source to the platform, it is important to know all the formats supported by the platform to select the best format to import the data according to the type of data and the objective to be imported into the data platform.
The present document describes the new requirements to include in the MARENDATA Data Platform, within the SafeWAVE project. MARENDATA is designed to present marine renewable energy industry with resource and impact assessment related information instantaneously in a format suitable for technical and non-technical audiences. It integrates datasets from the different sites, providing scientifically robust data on the potential environmental effects of marine energy devices to support consenting and licensing processes.
The production of energy from waves is gaining attention. In its expansion strategy, technical, environmental and socioeconomic aspects should be taken into account to identify suitable areas for development of wave energy projects. In this research we provide a novel approach for suitable site identification for wave energy farms. To achieve this objective, we (i) developed a conceptual framework, considering technical, environmental and conflicts for space aspects that play a role on the development of those projects, and (ii) it was operationalized in a Bayesian Network, by building a spatially explicit model adopting the Spanish and Portuguese Economic Exclusive Zones as case study. The model results indicate that 1723 km² and 17,409 km² are highly suitable or suitable for the development of wave energy projects (i.e. low potential conflicts with other activities and low ecological risk). Suitable areas account for a total of 2.5 TWh∙m⁻¹ energy resource. These areas are placed between 82 and 111 m water depth, 18–30 km to the nearest port, 21–29 km to the nearest electrical substation onshore, with 143–170 MWh m⁻¹ mean annual energy resource and having 124–150 of good weather windows per year for construction and maintenance work. The approach proposed supports scientists, managers and industry, reducing uncertainties during the consenting process, by identifying the most relevant technical, environmental and socioeconomic factors when authorising wave energy projects. The model and the suitability maps produced can be used during site identification processes, informing Strategic Environmental Assessment and ecosystem approach to marine spatial planning.
This deliverable (7.4) focuses on creating a framework for the development and implementation of education and public engagement (EPE) programs. To accomplish this task, we begin by developing a generic framework that is applicable to any type of EPE program. Owing to the general nature of such an endeavour, our methodology rests primarily on a foundation of desk-based research in the form of an integrative literature review. This type of literature review gathers and analyses relevant documents from a wide variety of disciplines with the aim of creating new frameworks and perspectives on a topic. This literature review draws from peer-reviewed research in a number of academic journals in the disciplines of sociology, psychology, political science, public administration, education, environmental science, and multidisciplinary fields such as transition theory and management, science-technology-society studies, critical theory, and gender studies. After developing this general framework, we then apply it to the objective of creating a framework for EPE programs that focus on ocean literacy and ocean energy acceptability with a focus on wave energy. The EPE framework for ocean literacy and ocean energy acceptability programs was co-developed with stakeholders and value chain actors following interviews with key contributors conducted in the early autumn of 2021, as well as with a survey tool sent out to partners with whom the researchers had worked on earlier projects. In addition, tasks 7.2 and 7.3 of the SafeWAVE project detailed many lessons and much information which was gathered from both citizens and experts that were applied to the development of this framework, not least among them the necessity of utilizing an intersectional approach in the program’s creation and evaluation. The framework for ocean literacy and ocean energy acceptability programs culminates in a documented methodological approach for the creation of tailored ocean literacy programs for individual ocean energy projects with a focus on wave energy. This task will be the objective of deliverable 7.5.
This deliverable comprises a brief report presenting the initial characterisations of the host communities associated with five marine renewable energy test sites in France, Ireland, Portugal and Spain.
This deliverable comprises a critical review of selected Education and Public Engagement (EPE) programmes associated with marine energy test site and infrastructure deployments. Information on selected case studies was gathered through a literature view and interviews of key informants. The methods used for EPE in each of the cases were analysed, key challenges faced by such programmes identified, and best practices documented. The knowledge developed in this task and presented in this report will feed into the development of an Educational and Public Engagement Framework within Task 7.4.
The present deliverable identifies the information and data sources of relevance for the identification of suitable areas for the establishment of WE projects in the European Atlantic region, which considers the Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZ) of Portugal, Spain, Ireland and UK. The aim of the present deliverable is the collation of the most relevant information when identifying suitable areas for the development and deployment of WE projects. Identified sources of information deals with: o Technical aspects such as wave energy resource, depth, seafloor type distribution, distance to ports and good weather windows. Those factors are of high relevance for the identification of suitable areas in terms of their technical viability. o Legal constraints representing the spatial distribution of areas that could be under different management and legal restrictions that could affect the development or establishment of WE facilities. o Environmental aspects for the consideration of the potential ecological risk that the establishment or development of WE facilities may have. o Maritime activities and uses that potentially could conflict or pose limitations to the development or establishment of marine WE facilities. It should be noted that the process of generation of relevant information for site suitability will be a continuous process throughout the SafeWAVE project, and that the information sources that we have identified at this stage, should be considered as the starting point in the analysis of identification of suitable areas for the development suitability maps.
One potential solution to challenges faced in consenting of ocean energy is the use of Adaptive Management (AM), a now widely-used learning-based process, whereby management approaches can be adapted as lessons are learned throughout a project. Using AM, the collection of regular monitoring data both informs any adaptations made and reduces scientific uncertainty in future management decisions. One aspect of AM is the incorporation of a Risk-Based Approaches (RBA), whereby an assessment of risk is used in the decision-making process when managing a project. Risk-based procedures already play an explicit and important role in a number of environmental regulations and associated guidance documents in various countries. It is clear that RBA may also clear the way for more streamlined and timely development of MRE projects, but the practical possibilities around this have not yet been explored. The purpose of this report is to explore the use of RBA further in the MRE space and to review the current state of knowledge around the use of RBA, analyse the different approaches, examine the practical application of RBA and make recommendations as to what work might be required to progress this area.
Consenting remains one of the often cited barriers to the offshore renewable energy development. This deliverable outlines the current EU policy context for offshore energy development and wider environmental management. It then looks at the policy basis in two SafeWAVE project partner countries: namely France and Ireland. In relation to these Member States, their national progress on EU policy is presented together with their current consenting processes. This complements an earlier report by Bald and Apolonia (2020), which focused on the consenting processes in Spain and Portugal, as part of the WESE project. This deliverable will form the basis for the remaining work to be carried out under Work Package 5, focusing on risk-based approaches and feasibility of Adaptive Management.
Despite the clear benefits of marine renewable energies (MRE), opposition has often been posed to MRE development projects. This opposition has hindered and even slowed down the process to Europe´s energy transition towards clean energies. Wave energy is, with a bit more than two decades of modern history, at an early stage of development. So far, there is only one wave energy production farm (i.e., Mutriku (Spain)) operating in Europe. Other developments are still in the pilot/prototype phase. This deliverable aims to understand current/potential opposition that wave energy developments may receive in future, especially when expanding this source of energy. To this aim and through “Task 7.1. Societal response to wave energy”, different sources of information (both scientific and social media) have been explored placing special emphasis on content communicated, communicators and target audiences. Outputs of this research indicate that to date, opposition to wave energy is rather limited. It primarily derives from impacts on i) existing uses, as they may conflict with wave energy developments, ii) local communities (especially, fishermen), for which the benefits are unclear, and iii) the environment, being the impact on specific ecosystem components not fully known. Despite much of the wave energy information available on the media is produced and communicated by scientists and engineers (which should be considered a reliable source of information and therefore, should not raise concerns), most of the content communicated focus on the drivers, the technological developments and human benefits (supply of energy demand and reduction of CO2 emissions). Little information is available on the potential negative impacts of wave energy projects on the environment, which may raise alarms. Furthermore, the target audiences of the different media sources vary between channels; YouTube, Facebook and Google have a wider audience than Twitter, which may seek a more « professional » audience. A holistic communication approach to wave energies, where it is clear to the audience the drivers and human benefits, but also the social, environmental and economic impacts, as well as the alternatives, may help society to be ocean energy literate and provide this society with tools to better balance the different energy alternatives and reduce potential opposition. Successful solutions and new ones arising from this project are compiled in this deliverable to guide wave energy developments in the future.
The ocean energy development is one of the main pillars of the EU Blue Growth strategy. However, while the technological development of devices is growing fast, their potential environmental effects are not well-known. The SafeWAVE project aims to improve the knowledge on the potential environmental impacts from Wave Energy projects. In the project scope, Work Package 2 aims to collect, process, analyse, and share environmental data related to four priority areas of research: i) Electromagnetic Fields, ii) Acoustics (noise), iii) Seafloor integrity, and iv) Fish communities. Four sites where Wave Energy Converters are operating in Portuguese, Spanish and French coastal waters will be monitored, representing different types of technology, different types of locations (onshore, nearshore, and offshore), and different types of project scales (single devices and arrays of devices), hence, different types and/or magnitudes of environmental impacts. The aim of Task 2.1 and the present report (Deliverable) 2.1 is to present the specific monitoring plans to undertake for each technology at each site.