The deployment of offshore renewables needs to take place in full accordance with rigorous environmental and planning procedures, while at the same time ensuring the UK is able to decarbonise its energy sector.
RenewableUK acts as the primary forum for engagement with the offshore renewables industry on planning, consenting, licensing and environmental issues by Government departments, Government Advisers and other stakeholders.
The expansion of the UK’s offshore renewable industry has been accompanied by changes in consenting regimes and the introduction of legislation designed to facilitate the development of nationally significant infrastructure projects.
The Planning Act 2008 introduced a new consenting regime for offshore wind farms over 100 megawatts, whereby the entire planning process for a project is overseen by one body, with the intention of streamlining the consenting process to enable Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects to progress to determination more efficiently.
In addition to a changing consenting process, the responsibility for the provision of advice and guidance for offshore renewables was transferred to the newly formed Marine Management Organisation, which was established under the Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009.
All these changes to consenting and advice, together with a continuously evolving understanding of the marine environment and the effects of renewable energy developments, pose great challenges to the development of offshore renewables.
Industry and Government need to work together in order to ensure that the deployment takes place in a way that is compatible with the conservation of marine ecosystems and the needs of other sea users.
The Offshore Consents & Licensing Group is one of RenewableUK's new Working Groups, accessible to appointed signed-in Members only.