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Marine Spatial Planning and Marine Renewable Energy

2020 State of the Science Report, Chapter 11


Marine spatial planning (MSP) is advocated internationally as an improved approach to managing marine activities that addresses competing sectors and balances environmental, social, and economic interests. The benefits of MSP are cited as being increased transparency and certainty for industry, improved environmental protection, reduced sectoral conflicts, and providing opportunities for synergies. Approaches to implementation of MSP vary by country and sometimes within countries. As a relatively new and novel approach to managing marine activities, it can be difficult to determine when success has occurred or what might constitute more effective and efficient management systems. The growth of marine renewable energy (MRE) will result in the increasing use of sea space and potential for conflict with existing marine uses, both of which can be addressed, in part, through implementation of MSP.

Application in MSP:
Type of Issue:
Type of practice:
Stage of MSP cycle:
Cross-border / trans-national aspect:
Coherence with other processes:
Key words:

Questions this practice may help answer:

  •  How is MSP currently being used to plan and develop marine renewable energy?

Implementation Context:

This document constitutes a part of the "OES-Environmental 2020 State of the Science Report: Environmental Effects of Marine Renewable Energy Development Around the World". The report represents Chapter 11: Marine Spatial Planning and Marine Renewable Energy.

Aspects / Objectives:

The aim of this report is to explain how MSP is currently being used to plan and develop Marine Renewable Energy in the 15 countries that are involved in Ocean Energy Systems (OES)-Environmental.


The information presented in this chapter comes from the responses to a questionnaire completed by OES-Environmental participant country representatives or their suggested contacts and, where appropriate, supplemented by relevant external sources. The questionnaire is available online as supplementary material (at…).

Main Outputs / Results:

The maritime spatial planning process is one of the solutions to face the growth of marine renewable energy and the resulting lack of space for all activities to be developed at sea.


The methodological approach and results can be applied in MSP worldwide.

Responsible Entity:

Pacific Northwest National Lab (PNNL), Richland, WA (United States).

Costs / Funding Source:

This contribution is based upon works supported by the Navigate project (Grant-Aid Agreement No. 842 PBA/IPG/17/01), carried out with the support of the Marine Institute and funded under the Marine Research Programme by the Irish Government, and by MaREI: the SFI Research Centre for Energy, Climate and Marine (12/RC/2302).

Contact person:

Andrea Copping

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (andrea[dot]copping[at]pnnl[dot]gov)