Publication - Integrated Environmental & Social Sensitivity Mapping: Guidance for Early Offshore Wind Spatial Planning

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Integrated Environmental & Social Sensitivity Mapping: Guidance for Early Offshore Wind Spatial Planning
World Bank
World Bank Group
Published in
July 2024
While offshore wind is critical to reducing carbon emissions and helping to achieve universal energy access as envisioned by the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal 7, we must ensure that such turbines are installed in a way that they do not endanger marine life or harm human development. Coastal communities rely on a healthy ocean to run businesses, secure food, and prosper. Therefore, when planning and building offshore wind projects, stakeholders must consider appropriate environmental and social (E&S) sensitivities to protect biodiversity and marine and coastal ecosystem services that underpin economic activity and food security. This guidance document, Integrated Environmental and Social Sensitivity Mapping—Guidance for Early Offshore Wind Spatial Planning (SenMap), is designed to support government planners in emerging market countries to identify potential areas for offshore wind development with the lowest E&S sensitivity. The resulting outputs—E&S sensitivity maps— can help identify broad potential development areas for offshore wind, at the earliest stages of government-led spatial planning. Sensitivity maps can support planning for avoidance, directing development away from areas where sensitivity is highest. While primarily a government-led planning tool, SenMap outputs could also be used to inform offshore wind project developers of the likely highest E&S sensitivities and enable them to select more suitable sites, plan mitigation measures, and integrate cost contingencies into competitive tenders. SenMap could also be used by developers and regulators alike to inform project-specific Environmental and Social Impact Assessment, through collating regional-scale E&S data in advance of more detailed, site-specific data collection efforts.