Denmark

Denmark

EWEA Offshore: EAs fail to recognise positives of offshore wind

DENMARK: Environmental assessments are failing to take into account the positive effects of offshore wind developments, according to Rufus Howard, director of energy and infrastructure consenting at Dutch engineering consultancy Royal HaskoningDHV.

Speaking to Windpower TV, Howard said that due to the rules laid out in the EU directive on environmental assessments, negative impacts are over-emphasised while positives are ignored.

"One of the key positive impacts of offshore wind that has often been lost in the assessment of negative impacts is the contribution towards climate change and the transition to a low carbon economy through converting our energy supply to renewable means," he said.

Because the methodology is very risk-averse and based on a precautionary principle focused around a worst-case scenario, we look in greater depth at all the possible impacts and then add a conservative impact to increase that impact, Howard said.

"We do this across all the topics. so as you add it up it's the worst case of every receptor built into the very worst case," he said.

"And then the converse is true on the positives. Because were taking a precautionary approach and a worst-case assessment basis, we will reduce the positive impacts. So it's a double whammy where we're over-emphasising the negative and reducing the positives."

Howard argues that we should look at what would be the actual costs of inaction on climate change to give us the "do nothing cost", and then compare this to the "do something cost".

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