Marine Energy Wales (MEW) has supported the Morlais tidal demonstration project’s Phased Approach to deploying devices in the test zone. Much emphasis is placed on a targeted environmental monitoring programme designed to identify and mitigate adverse impacts on the marine environment and other users of the sea.
MEW is the secretariat of a Welsh Consenting Strategic Advisory Group which brings together experienced representatives of the marine energy industry, environmental NGOs, including the RSPB and The Wildlife Trust, the regulator Natural Resources Wales and Welsh Government.
The group provides a forum to discuss regulatory and environmental issues, concerns and risks and works collaboratively to identify solutions and opportunities to improve consenting for wave and tidal stream projects in Wales.
While the group does not discuss the detail of specific projects such as Morlais, it is currently working to identify the key environmental evidence gaps that need addressing to ensure that the development of wave and tidal energy in Wales does not irreversibly harm Welsh marine wildlife.
This includes identifying solutions to refine environmental monitoring approaches, to promote better information sharing across the sector, and to help deliver, where required, an effective phased approach to the deployment of devices.
“As an organisation we have confidence in Morlais and the planning process to deliver low carbon electricity in a sustainable way. Marine renewable energy offers Wales a great opportunity to alleviate the impacts of climate change, support the blue economy’s contribution to a green recovery and create high quality jobs in coastal communities. We believe this can all be achieved in harmony with Wales’ marine natural environment.”Jessica Hooper, Marine Energy Wales programme manager.