Skip to main content

Research Repository

Advanced Search

Renewables-to-reefs? – Decommissioning options for the offshore wind power industry

Smyth, Katie; Christie, Nikki; Burdon, Daryl; Atkins, Jonathan P.; Barnes, Richard; Elliott, Michael


Katie Smyth

Nikki Christie

Daryl Burdon

Richard Barnes

Profile Image

Professor Mike Elliott
Emeritus Professor of Estuarine and Coastal Sciences/ Research Professor, Institute of Estuarine and Coastal Studies


The offshore wind power industry is relatively new but increasing globally, hence it is important that the whole life-cycle is managed. The construction–operation–decommissioning cycle is likely to take 20– 30 years and whilst decommissioning may not be undertaken for many years, its management needs to be addressed in both current and future marine management regimes. This can be defined within a Drivers–Activities–Pressures State Changes–Impacts (on human Welfare)–Responses framework. This paper considers the main decommissioning options – partial or complete removal of all components. A SWOT analysis shows environmental and economic benefits in partial as opposed to complete removal, especially if habitat created on the structures has conservation or commercial value. Benefits (and repercussions) are defined in terms of losses and gains of ecosystem services and societal benefits. The legal precedents and repercussions of both options are considered in terms of the 10-tenets of sustainable marine management. Finally a ‘renewables-to-reefs’ programme is proposed.


Smyth, K., Christie, N., Burdon, D., Atkins, J. P., Barnes, R., & Elliott, M. (2015). Renewables-to-reefs? – Decommissioning options for the offshore wind power industry. Marine pollution bulletin, 90(1-2), 247-258.

Acceptance Date Jan 1, 2014
Online Publication Date Nov 18, 2014
Publication Date 2015-01
Deposit Date May 5, 2015
Publicly Available Date May 5, 2015
Journal Marine pollution bulletin
Print ISSN 0025-326X
Electronic ISSN 1879-3363
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 90
Issue 1-2
Pages 247-258
Keywords Decommissioning; Offshore wind power; Ecosystem services assessment; Renewables-to-reefs; DPSIR framework; SWOT analysis
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information Author's accepted manuscript of article published in: Marine pollution bulletin, 2015, v.90, issue 1-2.


You might also like

Downloadable Citations