AQUAFACT and GoBe developing environmental guidelines for offshore renewables in Ireland

AQUAFACT and GoBe are delighted to be working with the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage (DHLGH) on developing environmental guidelines for the offshore renewable energy (ORE) sector in Ireland.

The guidelines will help planners, regulators and developers of offshore renewable energy projects identify the key environmental considerations that need to be taken into account during each stage of the development process, as required by the Marine Strategy Framework Directive and under the OSPAR Convention.

The work will:

  • Review existing guidance in other jurisdictions
  • Outline the policy context for the guidance
  • Identify the environmental impacts of ORE developments
  • Detail Ireland’s MSFD environmental targets and thresholds, as well as regional measures and actions under the OSPAR ACQUIS, and their respective links to the environmental impacts identified
  • Identify linkages to the EIA process
  • Draft and finalise guidance

The guidelines will ultimately form part of the Marine Planning Guidelines for Offshore Wind Energy (OWE) which are currently being developed as part of Ireland’s new Maritime Area Planning Act. The purpose of the overarching OWE guidelines will be to aid decision-making and to help inform the consenting process for OWE developments.

To learn more about our work in the offshore renewables industry in Ireland or the project itself, contact Shane O’Boyle here.

Katherine Cronin of DHLGH said:

‘’Through the development of these guidelines, we wish to bring together all the marine environmental policy requirements that developers and planning authorities need to consider when developing ORE.

Dr Shane O’Boyle, Divisional Director of AQUAFACT and project lead said:

This is an excellent opportunity to produce guidelines that highlight the environmental considerations in developing offshore renewable energy projects in Ireland’s maritime area. AQUAFACT and GoBe, are thrilled to be working with the Department on these guidelines which will ultimately form an important element of the broader Marine Planning Guidelines currently being developed.

About the APEM Group:

APEM Group is a leading global environment consultancy providing expert advice to clients in a wide range of industries including renewables, water, infrastructure, marine and ports, transport, construction and development. The company provides digital aerial wildlife surveys, specialist marine, freshwater, terrestrial ecology and geospatial services to organisations across the world.

AQUAFACT are an established marine environmental consultancy based in Galway, which joined the APEM Group in February 2022. AQUAFACT is firmly rooted in the scientific community in Ireland with close associations with the National University of Ireland, Galway (NUIG), Galway Mayo Institute of Technology (GMIT), University College Dublin and Trinity College. We deliver professional and clear advice and guidance to clients from the state, semi-state and private sectors with the highest levels of accuracy, specialising in monitoring and managing resources and offering a multi-disciplinary approach to the investigation of problems in marine and freshwater environments.

GoBe Consultants joined the APEM Group in May 2022. Meeting the demand for strategic solutions and project specific experts to support planning and environmental plans, GoBe work in projects in offshore wind, marine renewables, marine aggregates, coastal infrastructure and subsea cabling. Working closely with developers in the UK, Europe and the US, we provide informed and accurate advice and technical expertise, sharing our in-depth knowledge and understanding of the consenting process for nationally significant infrastructure projects (NSIPs) and offshore wind developments.

About the Department of Housing, Local Government and Development:

The department’s mission is to support sustainable development, with a particular focus on strategic planning, the efficient delivery of well-planned homes in vibrant communities, the sustainable management of our water resources, the nurturing of Ireland’s heritage and the promotion of effective local government.