Innovate UK, BSI Publish Offshore Renewable Energy Guide

BSI, a business standards company has published, together with Innovate UK, has published a guide called PD 6900 Environmental impact assessment for offshore renewable energy projects.

The guidance was developed by BSI using a consensus-based approach, and has had input from key organizations such as RenewableUK, the Marine Management Organisation (MMO) and Marine Scotland among others.

Driven by issues of climate change, security of energy supply and economic development potential, the UK Government has established ambitious plans for the growth of offshore wind by 2020. According to estimated reports, the sector could deliver close to £7bn Gross Value Added (GVA) to the UK economy (excluding exports) and support over 30,000 full time equivalent UK jobs. Standards have a key role to play in this since exploring offshore renewable energy (ORE) can help to reduce costs and remove hurdles to progress within the industry.

David Fatscher, Head of Market Development for Sustainability at BSI said: “The development and delivery of standards is important for driving the industrialization of offshore renewable energy (ORE). Appropriate standards create a foundation for growth based upon recognized benchmarks of quality and promote UK competitiveness by reducing barriers to international trade. PD 6900 is a milestone which demonstrates that the UK is a world leader in environmental innovation.”

PD 6900 surveys recent environmental impact assessments (EIAs) for ORE projects, in order to identify good/innovative practice to follow and unnecessary processes that can be avoided. It gives guidance on undertaking environmental impact assessments for offshore wind, wave and tidal stream renewable energy projects.

ORE developers and EIA consultants will be able to commission, screen, scope and execute future EIAs at lower cost over an optimum time period. The guidance focusses on the main component of the ORE project (as opposed to the supporting infrastructure).

PD 6900 covers all elements of the EIA process:

  • Screening
  • Scoping
  • Preliminary environmental information (“PEI”)
  • Determining environmental impacts
  • Environmental statement (“ES”)
  • Mitigation and monitoring plans
  • Consultation and communication

The publication is issued as a report giving details of existing guidance, discussion of key issues and recommendations as to how these can be addressed. This includes examples of good practice, case studies, flexible templates and engagement plans. This format reflects the fact that for EIA, one size does not fit all.

PD 6900 was developed using the expertise of individuals across the industry. Some of the other organizations involved include: ABPmer, Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (Cefas), The Crown Estate, European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC), Grontmij, MacArthur Green, Renewable Energy Services (RES), Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) and Scottish Power.

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