Offshore grid infrastructure: understanding cumulative impacts & exploring multi-functionality and environmental monitoring

By 2030, some 20.000 km of new subsea cables are needed in the seas of Europe with an estimated investment cost of €50 billion (source: ENTSO-E). Permitting authorities are already being confronted with the need to understand impacts of offshore energy infrastructure. In view of the planned offshore expansion, the question of how to measure and deal with cumulative impacts is daunting. The risk of delayed or refused permits, in the absence of sufficient information, is real.

The challenges of undertaking so many projects in just over a decade are massive: technically, logistically and financially. We need to better understand what can be done and to learn from each other’s experiences in order to optimally make use of the infrastructure that is to be built.

During the workshop, we tried to understand the current knowledge gaps in relation to the (cumulative) impacts of marine infrastructure. Together with stakeholders, we explored what can be done to close these knowledge gaps, and how to collect relevant data and make it available to permitting authorities across borders. In addition, we discussed how grid infrastructure could be used to gather data that may contribute positively to the permitting process.


9:30 Registration and coffee

9:50 Welcome
Antonella Battaglini | Renewables Grid Initiative

10:00 The European offshore power grid: an introduction
Julien Sialelli | Renewables Grid Initiative | Presentation

10:15 Forthcoming guidance of the European Commission on energy infrastructure & Natura2000 in relation to the marine environment
Fotios Papoulias | DG Environment | Presentation

11:00 Overview of the issues surrounding the environmental impacts of subsea cables
Pernille Holm Skyt | NIRAS A/S | Presentation

11:30 Coffee break

12:00 Environmental impact appraisals and planning for interconnectors in the North Sea: feedback and comparison of the Cobra and NordLink projects
Jos Spits | TenneT | Presentation

12:30 Environmental impact evaluation in the case of the Sicily-Malta interconnector and technologies used to minimise the impacts on the marine ecosystem
Luca Moiana | Terna | Presentation

13:00 Lunch

14:00 Input presentation: Environmental impact assessment: what are the knowledge gaps and what is the key environmental information?
David Bloxsom | NIRAS Consulting | Presentation

Working session: How can we set up a collaborative approach between stakeholders to identify and gather key environmental information?

  • Which ecological and environmental factors are the most important with regards to grid development?
  • Which data monitoring methodologies should be investigated?
  • How can we equip offshore power grid infrastructure with information gathering technologies?
  • What are the technical challenges?
  • How can such activities help improve stakeholder engagement?

15:45 Conclusion and next steps

16:00 End of the workshop

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Theresa Schneider
Senior Manager–Communication

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t: +49 30 7677194 55

RGI gratefully acknowledges the EU LIFE funding support:

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Funded by the European Union. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or the LIFE Programme. Neither the European Union nor the granting authority can be held responsible for them.