The Renewable Grid Initiative (RGI) commissioned a discussion paper in order to explore the intricate dynamics of offshore wind co-location with Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) and other activities at sea.
At the core of this paper and RGI's mission is the recognition of offshore wind's crucial role in delivering the energy transition and addressing the climate crisis. Simultaneously, it underscores the imperative to tackle the biodiversity crisis and the urgency of contributing to the biodiversity targets.
As a result, the paper investigates the vital need, and the options, to ensure that wind developments align harmoniously with nature, but also communities, and concurrent activities. Rather than advocating for a definitive position, it serves as a repository of accumulated knowledge, pinpointing gaps that require attention.
Among others, it emphasises the ongoing necessity for large-scale testing and monitoring of the promising practices conducted by the wind industry in collaboration with academia, NGOs, and other stakeholders, and implementing adaptive management strategies based on their results.
We extend our sincere appreciation to PJ Stephenson for his expertise, dedication, and patience in the drafting of this discussion paper. This piece adds to his previous work conducted for RGI “Offshore biodiversity data needs and monitoring protocols for offshore wind energy sector in the Baltic Sea and North Sea” and “Essential environmental concepts for offshore wind energy sector in Europe”, which are considered as reference materials in this field.
We consider this discussion paper a dynamic repository that will evolve over time, reflecting the increasing clarity on these complex topics as our collective knowledge expands. Therefore, we invite all interested stakeholders and experts to contribute with their insights to this paper and to reach out to us.
Author Dr PJ Stephenson is an independent conservation and sustainability consultant, chair of the IUCN SSC Species Monitoring Specialist Group and a Research Fellow at the University of Lausanne, Switzerland.
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