ETC/ICM Report 2/2022: Mapping potential environmental impacts of offshore renewable energy

10 Oct 2022

Ibon Galparsoro, Iratxe Menchaca, Isabel Seeger, Marco Nurmi, Hugh McDonald, Joxe Mikel Garmendia, Sarai Pouso, Ángel Borja

The European Green Deal sets out the ambition to make Europe the first climate-neutral continent by 2050, while addressing other environmental challenges, boosting the economy, improving people's health and quality of life, and ensuring an inclusive and just transition (European Commision, 2019). As part of the Green Deal, the Commission adopted the EU Offshore Renewable Energy Strategy to give a strategic direction for the ambitious development and integration of offshore renewable energy by 2030 and 2050 (European Commission, 2020b).
At first the report determines the potential interaction between different offshore renewable energy devices (i.e., wind turbines, wave energy converters, current turbines, photovoltaic and ocean thermal energy conversion systems) and ecosystem components, by identifying the pressures (stressors) and vulnerable group of species, habitats, or ecosystem elements (receptors), based on a literature review. Secondly, the methodology and results from a risk map, or cumulative impact index, analysis made primarily using GIS software and the open-source program EcoImpactMapper are presented. A third section provides an overview of the most relevant policies, strategies and directives for managing the environmental impacts of the development of offshore energy as well as synergies and trade-offs between these policies and strategies. Finally, the report presents a detailed review of the maritime spatial plans of Finland, Ireland, Latvia and Belgium, which are summarised in country-specific evaluations and a comparison table.

Prepared by:

Lead authors: Ibon Galparsoro (AZTI), Iratxe Menchaca (AZTI), Isabel Seeger (Ecologic), Marco Nurmi (SYKE), Hugh McDonald (Ecologic), Joxe Mikel Garmendia (AZTI), Sarai Pouso (AZTI), Ángel Borja (AZTI)
EEA project manager: Stéphane Isoard
Coordination: Claudia Neitzel (UFZ)
Language Check: Shane Hume (CENIA)
Layout: F&U confirm, Leipzig