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Stakeholder input into the design of the Atlantic Marine Energy Test Site

Date: November 07, 2013 at 10:11 GMT

The northwest of Ireland is an area of outstanding natural beauty, remote and sparsely populated. However, it is of high importance and high value for the local community, amenity users, tourism and the fishing community. The proposed development of the Atlantic Marine Energy Test Site in harmony with this natural environment and existing uses posed a significant challenge with regard to its acceptance by the local people and marine resource users. Extensive stakeholder consultation to a very high standard was required and was key to the acceptance and support of the project locally. A key element of the consultations was the enablement of real inputs from all parties, which fed in to the final test site design, a key factor in bringing the project to the consenting phase. The project constitutes a new area of development for coastal communities in Ireland. It has therefore provided a valuable learning experience for all parties involved, including statutory bodies, local communities and other marine users, setting a template for real and meaningful stakeholder involvement in the emerging ocean energy industry. This paper will detail the consultation process and stakeholder involvement of the local public and fishing community, the lessons learned and how these influenced the design. Consultation with statutory bodies and Wave Energy Converter (WEC) developers also took place, but is not described in this paper. 

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