Marine Renewable Energy Strategic Framework (MRESF)

RPS developed a Marine Renewable Energy Strategic Framework (MRESF) for marine renewable developments within Welsh Territorial Waters (TWs). The MRESF was completed under the principles of the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (and Water Framework Directive (WFD) in coastal waters) and the Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) Directive.

As the first project of its kind (marine spatial planning) for Wales, it demonstrates a groundbreaking and detailed ‘Approach to Sustainable Development’ for Welsh Territorial Waters.

The four-year project investigated the potential marine renewable energy resource of Welsh TWs; mapped potential development constraints; and considered potential scenarios for the sustainable development of Welsh wave and tidal resources. 

Key details

Project name
Marine Renewable Energy Strategic Framework (MRESF)

Welsh Government

Welsh Territorial Waters

Services provided

  • Regulatory support
  • Government support and advice
  • Marine renewables consultancy
  • Wave and tide environmental advice
  • Wave farm and tidal farm consultancy
  • Wave energy and tidal energy consultancy
  • Sustainable development
  • Marine ecology and marine biology services
  • Spatial intelligence and GIS data gap analysis
  • Constraints mapping, heat mapping
  • Environmental, socio-economic, strategic study
  • Stakeholder workshops
  • Web portal management
  • Project management


One of the key challenges, requiring focus from the outset, was to produce a framework for development that would be useful to regulators and developers in facilitating deployment of marine renewable generation. However, it was also critical that the project, being promoted and funded by the Welsh Government, could not incorporate or be perceived to incorporate any ‘favour’ towards any particular renewable technology. 

MRESF - project image (shutterstock_1129638491).jpg


The project was divided into four stages:

  • Stage 1 - Building a knowledge database
    • Approximately 100 technologies were grouped into generic device types. Environmental and socio-economic constraints were assigned to device type.
    • Key issues and barriers to marine renewables, and critical knowledge gaps were identified, including resource requirements for each technology and potential environmental implications.
  • Stage 2 - Addressing critical knowledge gaps
    • Marine mammal distribution and collision risk
    • Bird behaviour and collision risk
    • Collision risk for fish
    • Potential impacts on military interests
    • Positive effects of marine renewable development

  • Stage 3 - Development of an MRESF to meet targets for sustainable energy generation, respecting economic, social and environmental objectives including use of GIS tools. The project provided the strategy framework, a review of policy context for sustainable development, and development of an interactive web portal. Two stakeholder workshops were held, and outputs were disseminated at UK conferences.

  • Stage 4 - Provision of support to developers through GIS modelling of potential sites for development using developer criteria and constraints mapping.


Project statistics

Welsh Govt. investment for marine renewable development in Welsh Territorial Waters.
4 years
in development, and 2 years of support.
technical reports, 55 baseline maps and 85 constraints maps in planning.
Wave and tidal technologies reviewed for target of 4GW marine renewables achievable.

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