Annual Report 2016

Task 8 - Consenting Processes for Ocean Energy

It is widely accepted that the ocean has the potential to become an important source of clean energy that could help drive innovation and job creation in coastal areas. Although several devices have been deployed at sea, the consenting process is still regarded as a critical barrier for industry and to future progress of the sector. The time involved in obtaining consents is of great concern to most developers as it has definite resource and economic implications for project planning.

Ocean energy projects are relatively new to many regulatory bodies and are often considered under legislation developed for other sectors (e.g. oil & gas or aquaculture) which may not be ideally suited to a new technology such as ocean energy. As a way to expedite the consenting process, some countries have attempted to “streamline” their procedures so as to improve their operation.

The report “Consenting Processes for Ocean Energy” published in 2016 features information garnered from OES members.


Ana Brito Melo, WavEC, Portugal

Canada, China, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Korea, Mexico Monaco, Nigeria, Norway, Portugal, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, UK. USA


Specifically, this refers to the countries of Canada, China, Denmark, Germany, Ireland, Mexico, Monaco, Nigeria, Norway, Portugal, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States of America giving the following report a wide geographic dimension. The progress of ocean energy projects in all the OES member countries continues to face challenges in relation to consenting processes. This can be detrimental to the sector and may also lead to delays in realising operational projects with consequences for budgeting and real costs to developers. This report presents a summary from each OES member on their national programme activities. Coupled with this, particular emphasis has been placed on investigating the main barriers associated with permitting and licensing with a view to advising regulators and decision-makers on the key needs of the ocean energy sector from consenting processes.

Developers were also given the opportunity to provide their views and insights on barriers as experienced by them in consenting of their ocean energy projects to date. The report has paid particular attention to Marine Spatial Planning and how this is influencing consenting processes and ocean energy device deployments. In addition, OES member representatives provided information on the authorities involved in consenting, the procedures within the consenting process, Environmental Impact Assessment, legislative and regulatory developments, consultation, guidance and test centres. This forms a succinct overview of current practice with the aim of providing a holistic picture of the situation in each OES member country and draw tentative conclusions on whether more integrated approaches to planning are fully operational within OES countries.