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Towards best environmental practice for cetacean conservation in developing Scotland's marine renewable energy


  • Dolman, Sarah
  • Simmonds, Mark


Marine renewable energy is seen as an important component of the UK's future energy strategy and contribution to reducing the greenhouse gas emissions responsible for climate change. The UK aims to generate a total of 33 GW (gigawatts) of offshore wind energy. Its implementation strategy includes the development of ten offshore wind farms within Scottish territorial waters. In addition, between 1000 MW (megawatts) and 2600 MW of marine renewable energy generating capacity could be achieved in Scotland using wave and tidal power devices. However, there are negative environmental impacts associated with marine renewable energy. Intense noise is produced during pile driving, drilling and dredging operations with potential consequences for cetaceans. There are also increases in vessel activities during exploration, maintenance and construction with association risks of disturbance and collisions. Some underwater devices will be large and may be positioned in arrays across the habitats that cetaceans frequent. The consequences of encounters between cetaceans and such devices are as yet unknown. It is recommended that the Scottish Government complete full and transparent Marine Spatial Planning, including consideration of cumulative impacts, before moving to license appropriate sites.

Suggested Citation

  • Dolman, Sarah & Simmonds, Mark, 2010. "Towards best environmental practice for cetacean conservation in developing Scotland's marine renewable energy," Marine Policy, Elsevier, vol. 34(5), pages 1021-1027, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:marpol:v:34:y:2010:i:5:p:1021-1027

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    7. Kousky, Carolyn & Rostapshova, Olga & Toman, Michael & Zeckhauser, Richard, 2009. "Responding to Threats of Climate Change Mega-Catastrophes," Discussion Papers dp-09-45, Resources For the Future.
    8. Philip Fearnside & Daniel Lashof & Pedro Moura-Costa, 2000. "Accounting for time in Mitigating Global Warming through land-use change and forestry," Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change, Springer, vol. 5(3), pages 239-270, September.
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    1. repec:eee:rensus:v:82:y:2018:i:p3:p:1979-1989 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Tabassum-Abbasi, & Premalatha, M. & Abbasi, Tasneem & Abbasi, S.A., 2014. "Wind energy: Increasing deployment, rising environmental concerns," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 31(C), pages 270-288.
    3. Obara, Shin’ya & Morizane, Yuta & Morel, Jorge, 2013. "Study on method of electricity and heat storage planning based on energy demand and tidal flow velocity forecasts for a tidal microgrid," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 111(C), pages 358-373.
    4. Bonar, Paul A.J. & Bryden, Ian G. & Borthwick, Alistair G.L., 2015. "Social and ecological impacts of marine energy development," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 47(C), pages 486-495.


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