Environmental Assessment of Guernsey’s Marine Renewable Energy

July 15th, 2010 by Chris Green

Chris Green, a consultant for the shadow Renewable Energy Commission, gave a presentation on 24 June 2010 to the Marine Renewable Energy Seminar on the Environmental Assessment of Guernsey’s Marine Renewable Energy.  This seminar took place one day prior to the British Irish Council meeting, which focused on marine renewable energy.

Speakers at Guernsey's Marine Renewable Energy Seminar on 24 June 2010 (click image to expand)

The Environmental Assessment covered:

The Physical Marine Environment

  • Geology and sediment transition
  • Marine Processes
  • Water Quality

The Marine Biological Environment

  • Benthic Ecology
  • Pelagic Ecology
  • Birds
  • Marine Mammals

The Marine Human Environment

  • Commercial fisheries and mariculture
  • Recreational fishing
  • Marine and coastal historic environment
  • Existing submarine cables, electrical grid, and power connectivity
  • Shipping and navigation
  • Tourism and recreation

Other Topics

  • Noise
  • Air quality
  • Landscape and seascape character

The Key outputs of the Environmental Assessment includes:

  • Key risks and mitigation measures
  • The Environmental Action Plan (EAP) – physical measures taken to protect the environment
  • Regional Monitoring Plan – Investigative work (throughout all phases)
  • Geographical Information System (GIS).

Key Impacts and Mitigation

Positive Impacts

  • Reduction in C02 emissions and other pollution
  • Energy security
  • Potential for Safety Zones to act as fishing No-Take Zones
  • Device structures and foundations can act as artificial reefs
  • Employment

Negative Impacts and Mitigation

  • Impacts are very site-specific
  • Careful selection of deployment zones based on constraints mapping

Geology and Sediment Transition

  1. Risk of scour and smothering
  2. Risk of coastal erosion
  3. Hydraulic and sediment modelling

Benthic Ecology

  1. Lack of knowledge of benthic habitat
  2. Risk of direct disturbance
  3. Strategic surveys
  4. Habitats mapping

Large pelagic ecology and marine mammals

  1. Lack of knowledge of impacts
  2. noise
  3. Risk to barrier to movement
  4. Noise reduction measures during construction

Commercial Fishing

  1. Entanglement
  2. Risk of exclusion
  3. Risk of relocation to adjacent grounds
  4. Fisheries activities study


  1. Risk of collision
  2. Diversion routes
  3. Navigation risk assessment
  4. Marking and lighting
  5. Safety zones?


  1. Whole or rural coast is designated
  2. Device specific measures
  3. Visual impact assessment

Mr. Green’s PowerPoint presentation may be downloaded.

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