Marine Energy and Resources
Marine energy and resources includes hydrocarbon activities, seabed and coastal mining, wave and tidal power generation, coastal desalination and nuclear power generation, and offshore wind energy.
Developments in technology combine with changes in accessibility due to global environmental change and contribute to the development of environmental management regimes for regional marine energy and resource developments.
Any resource activity impact on marine flora and fauna species, populations and habitats needs to be managed through staged development and requires identifying potential adverse impacts to natural systems. This requires a solid understanding of the biological processes underpinning ecological responses to environmental stressors resulting from the impact of resource activities.
Regional ecological responses to environmental stressors from resource activities also need to account for and differentiate between prior man made impacts at different spatial and temporal scales, including global ones, and those impacts on the environment that occur as a result of natural system cycles.
This understanding better informs environmental risk assessment during the approvals process, which can at times be ‘token’ in nature and not focused on identifying the ecological systems and processes impacted on that ‘actually matter’ for any particular resource activity.
Information is needed on the impact of existing environmental stressors both natural and man made, on indicator species, populations, and habitats and how they are potentially impacted by the additional resource development activity requiring approval, contributing to accounting for cumulative impacts.
Information can then be converted to evidence to inform the risk assessment process and demonstration of activity risk reduction to As Low As Reasonable Practicable (ALARP). This is a requirement under legislation and regulations for activity approvals and the conditions that need to be met to ensure compliance through the development of activity thresholds.
The approach allows industry to better align with development of best practice in Risk Management (ISO31000) and Environmental Management Systems (ISO14001).