Researcher: Dr David Toke
In April 2009, EU's Council of Ministers adopted a new Renewable Energy Directive with a legally binding target of 20% of renewable energy sources by 2020. Offshore renewable energies (wind, wave and tidal stream power) will contribute significantly to implement this ambitious European target. The European Wind Energy Association estimates that 230 GW of wind power will be installed in 2020, from which 40 GW are to be covered by offshore wind energy.
The large deployment of offshore renewable energy faces, however, important challenges that need to be tackled at the EU level. The lack of integrated maritime strategic planning and cross-border coordination is one of these main challenges. The objective of the SEANERGY 2020 project is to formulate and to promote concrete policy recommendations on how to best deal with and remove maritime spatial planning (MSP) policy obstacles to the deployment of offshore renewable power generation. It will focus on offshore renewable energy technologies and related grid infrastructure and provide policy recommendations on how to promote a more integrated and coordinated approach to maritime spatial planning facilitating the implementation of the 20% Renewables Directive.
The project is targeted towards regional and national authorities, EU decision-makers, planners, regulators, transmission system operators and marine renewable energy project developers. It takes into account the specifics of different individual marine areas, such as the North Sea, the Baltic Sea, the Atlantic coast and the Mediterranean Sea.
Dr Toke is utilising the empirical material derived from the project to develop theory about deliberation and public policy. Dr Toke is especially concerned to discuss how deliberation theory needs to take account of the existence of different arenas for deliberation governing a single public policy initiative – in this case offshore renewables (and offshore wind power in particular). Different deliberative arenas (eg offshore wind power planning, decisions about financial support mechanisms, climate change targets, energy efficiency policy) are overlapping, but sometimes conflicting, but conducted in discrete policy discourses with their own languages and policy networks. Two research questions emerge,
how, in terms of practice, but also normative theory, are conflicts between these different discourse / networks resolved (or not) and how can they be resolved.
what is the role of Government, or ‘metagovernance ‘ in this process?
It is planned that this work will lead to publication in political science or public administration journals(s).
Dr David Toke is leading the University of Birmingham’s contribution to an EU funded project to investigate and disseminate best practice in marine spatial planning for offshore renewables. The project will last for two years, starting in May 2010. There are eight organisations involved in the consortium which is led by the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA). The project is worth around 1 million euros in total, around 90,000 euros for the University of Birmingham’s contribution. The University of Birmingham’s contribution is directed principally towards analysing marine spatial planning of offshore renewables in the UK case.