Experts discuss environmental impacts of offshore grid infrastructure at workshop in Brussels

On 9 December, 35 experts joined the RGI expert workshop “Offshore grid infrastructure: understanding cumulative impacts & exploring multi-functionality and environmental monitoring” in Brussels, including grid operators, environmental NGOs, cable manufacturers and decision-makers.

Presentations were held on the current status quo of grid infrastructure deployment, on the forthcoming guidance document of the European Commission on energy infrastructure and Natura2000, and on environmental impacts of offshore grids. Moreover, three case studies on the COBRAcable, NORD.Link and the Sicily-Malta interconnector were introduced by TenneT and Terna.

During discussions, participants agreed that there are still many knowledge gaps regarding the environmental impacts of grids, including the effects of electric and magnetic fields and heat dissipation on species and the seabed. Moreover, it was acknowledged that concise information about different cable laying techniques and the availability of data would be useful.

Next steps
RGI has commissioned the company NIRAS Consulting to undertake a review on the impacts of subsea cables on the marine environment, key environmental information needed for offshore grid development and environmental protection, and possible knowledge gaps. The report also includes expert testimonials. Results will be published soon.