Governing Risks of Multi-Use: Seaweed Aquaculture at Offshore Wind Farms

Frontiers in Marine Science 7 (2020)

Abstract: 

Spatial claims concerning the rapidly growing European offshore wind sector give rise to various ideas for the multi-use application of wind farms. Seaweed is considered a promising feedstock for food and feed that could be produced at offshore wind farms. Concerns about risks resulting in liability claims and insurance premiums are often seen as show-stoppers to multi-use at offshore wind farms. In this study, key environmental risks of seaweed cultivation at offshore wind farms, identified through literature review, are characterized based on stakeholder consultation. The current approach to risk governance is evaluated to assess how it can handle the uncertain, complex, and/or ambiguous risks of multi-use. It is concluded that current risk governance for multi-use is poorly equipped to deal with the systemic nature of risks. Risk governance should be a joint effort of governments and private regulators. It can improve if it is based on an adaptive framework for risk assessment that can deal with complex, systemic risks. Furthermore, it should be flexible and inclusive, i.e., open to new incoming information and stakeholder input, and taking into account and communicate about the different stakes and values of the various parties involved. The importance of communication and inclusion must be recognized, which promotes participation of concerned stakeholders.

Sea Basin(s): 
Year: 
February 2020
Application in MSP: 
Unknown effect
Sectors: 
Aquaculture
Offshore renewable energy production
Type of Issue: 
Coexistence of uses
Economic aspects
Environment aspects
Type of practice: 
Study
Stage of MSP cycle: 
Analyse spatial aspects
Cross-border / trans-national aspect: 
No
Coherence with other processes: 
Marine Strategy Framework Directive
Strategic Environmental Assessment

Questions this practice may help answer:

  • What type of risk governance is needed to cope with the risks of multi-use at sea?

Implementation Context:

The study was conducted by the scientists from the Wageningen University and Research, Netherlands.

Aspects / Objectives:

The objective of this study is to identify and characterise the risks of combining two activities, with a focus on environmental and related food and feed safety risks.

Method:

The literature review, workshop, interviews and survey were conducted to collect required information. The current approach to risk governance is evaluated to assess how it can handle the uncertain, complex, and/or ambiguous risks of multi-use.

Main Outputs / Results:

It is concluded that current risk governance for multi-use is poorly equipped to deal with the systemic nature of risks. Risk governance should be a joint effort from governments and private regulators.

Transferability:

The findings are mainly based on experiences with offshore wind energy and seaweed cultivation in Europe and the United States. 

Funding Source:

The work was co-funded by the Lloyd’s Register Foundation under grant no. G\100123.

Contact person:

Sander W. K. van den Burg sander.vandenburg@wur.nl