Identifying citizens’ questions through field approaches
In order to understand the acceptability of ORE farms, it is important to characterise the perception of these projects by the various stakeholders in the maritime area at a very early stage. To this end, field actions are organised to enable citizens to present and debate their perceptions and questions. Through collaborative projects, France Energies Marines and its partners have thus organised round tables dedicated to certain environmental issues (TROPHIK project) and conducted surveys (APPEAL project) among professional and leisure fishermen, residents and tourists, environmental associations, elected representatives… The possible interactions between offshore infrastructures and sea users were then objectified, making it possible to understand the ways in which the different groups of stakeholders envisage new practices or uses of the territory.
The Institute also participates in the public debate phase organised by the French State before the start of any major project. Citizens are thus involved in the upstream decision-making process, particularly with regard to the location of the site. France Energies Marines follows the exchanges in order to understand the various questions raised on this occasion. The Institute also participates in several working and consultation groups dealing with interactions between ORE and the environment in the broad sense (International Union for Conservation of Nature, Syndicat des Energies Renouvelables, Conférence Régionale de la Mer et du Littoral en Bretagne, Assemblée Régionale de la Mer et du Littoral des Pays de la Loire, farms monitoring committees…).
Prioritizing the environmental issues of ORE
The survey conducted in 2019, ahead of the new wind farm project off the coast of Normandy, highlighted the high expectations of citizens for information from research on the environmental and landscape impacts of ORE. The COME3T initiative, launched by France Energies Marines, aims to respond, with the support of scientists, to environmental issues raised by citizens. A steering committee made up of many players in the ORE sector prioritises the questions, which are then addressed to a panel of neutral and independent experts. These experts prioritize the environmental stakes of the subject being addressed and determines the level of existing scientific knowledge. They also propose a research or monitoring programme if necessary. Answers to questions brought by the experts are disseminated through bulletins and educational videos.
Avoiding, reducing and compensate environmental impacts
To ensure optimal environmental integration of ORE farms, project developers must follow a methodology called the Avoid, Reduce, Compensate (ERC) sequence. To avoid impacts, the measures considered may concern fundamental choices related to the project (geographical or technical avoidance). Once all the negative effects on the environment have not been eliminated at a reasonable cost, the remaining degradation should be reduced by technical solutions to minimise it (during the construction phase or on the structure itself). As a last resort, if negative impacts persist, compensatory measures must be taken to provide a positive counterpart aimed at conserving the overall environmental quality of the environments. In order to fully understand the application of this ERC sequence to offshore wind farms and to better understand their cumulative effects, the Frecnh Ministry of Environment has launched a working group bringing together some thirty scientific experts covering all marine environment topics (ECUME Working Group). It is co-animated by France Energies Marines, the Cerema and the Office Français de la Biodiversité.
Contributing to acceptability by disseminating research knowledge
A large part of the R&D activities carried out by France Energies Marines contribute to improving the acceptability of ORE projects by working on their environmental integration and ultimately reducing the cost of energy production. The results of this scientific work are widely disseminated through various means: organisation of thematic workshops, publication of reports and illustrated synthesis, participation in conference-debates, development of educational activities, design of educational materials (videos, comics…). This dissemination of knowledge resulting from research allows all audiences to have access to more objectivity with regard to ORE.
Photo credit: France Energies Marines
Socio-ecosystemic approach to the impact of floating wind farms
Common Environmental Assessment Framework
Committee of experts for offshore renewable energies environmental issues
French working group on cumulative effects of ORE projects
Modelling the role of offshore wind farms in modifying the functioning of coastal food webs and cumulative impact
Training in the field of offshore renewable energies
Marine and coastal geosciences researcher
Environmental and Societal Integration R&D Manager
Published on 02/11/2020