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Impressions seminar offshore energy development in Japan

Gepubliceerd op
21 januari 2013

Martin Pastoors of IMARES Wageningen UR held a presentation about Ecodynamic design in offshore development at a seminar in Japan in January 2013.

After the 11 March 2012 Fukushima tsunami and the subsequent nuclear power plant meltdown, the ocean and energy policies in Japan have been fundamentally reconsidered. Shortly after the disaster, the Japanese government announced a major program for offshore renewable energy as an alternative to nuclear energy. In addition, the Japan ocean policy may be substantially changed to cope with future tsunami threats, coastal defense and offshore energy generation. A commission of industry representatives working under the Research Institute for Ocean Economics (RIOE) is preparing a vision for the new ocean policy which will be handed to the Japanese government by the end of March 2013.

The Dutch embassy in Japan sent out a newsletter on these issues in November 2012, which led to a seminar in Japan on 18 January 2013 where Martin Pastoors of IMARES Wageningen UR, held a presentation about Ecodynamic design in offshore development. This was combined with a number of visits to Japanese organizations that are active on offshore renewable energy and the new ocean policy.

The main topics during the seminar were:

1. Ecodynamic design in offshore development

Ecodynamic design or building with nature is an approach developed by the Ecoshape consortium in the Netherlands. The basic idea is to utilize the forces and the dynamics of the natural system to create the infrastructure we desire. This has the potential of an efficient reconciliation of nature and human activities.

2. Cumulative effect assessments

IMARES has developed a method to assess the cumulative effects of multiple activities at sea. Cumulative Effect Assessments (CEA) should be considered a full environmental effects assessment and could thus be part of any EIA and SEA. The method developed by IMARES allows for a qualitative or fully quantitative approach and is fully transparent in how the results are linked to the knowledge base and assumptions.

3. Offshore windenergy

In the North Sea there are many developments to develop and operate wind farms. The first Dutch offshore windpark was built in 2006. It consists of 36 turbines with a total capacity of 108 MW. IMARES has been involved in monitoring the effects of the development of the park. General conclusions have recently been published by Lindeboom et al 2012. The wind farm appears to acts as a new type of habitat with a higher biodiversity of benthic organisms, a possibly increased use of the area by the benthos, fish, marine mammals and some bird species and a decreased use by several other bird species.

4. Marine Spatial Planning

Marine Spatial Planning has been used by several countries bordering the North Sea. But because the boundaries of the EEZs meet in the middle of the North Sea, there is a need to explore cross-border spatial planning. In the MASPNOSE project a spatial planning exercise was carried out for a fisheries management plan on the Dogger Bank. Map-tables were used to get input from stakeholders and to design potential spatial strategies. For cross-border spatial planning to work, a clear mandate needs to be established and a clear outline of the process steps.