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Offshore Renewable Impacts on Ecosystem Services (ORIES)

A decision-support tool to facilitate the environmentally sustainable expansion of offshore wind energy

ORIES (Offshore Renewable Impacts on Ecosystem Services) is an open-source web-based decision support tool (DST) that allows users to evaluate the effects of proposed fixed offshore wind farms on marine habitats, biodiversity and ecosystem services. The ORIES DST summarises the effects of offshore wind farm development phases (constructions and operation) on ecosystem services and displays links between these impacts (e.g. cable impacts, barrier effects, electromagnetic fields) and the underlying scientific evidence in a form accessible to the public. Funding from UK Research and Innovation, Garfield Weston Foundation and Plymouth Marine Laboratory through the UK Energy Research Centre (UKERC) project has enabled us to develop such a tool in the form of a database (created using R shiny) and a web-based GIS interface where the literature evidencing the effects of offshore wind farms on marine habitats, biodiversity, and ecosystem services can be interrogated.
The database contains >1,000 pieces of evidence on the environmental impacts of offshore wind. It summarises evidence from both the scientific and grey literature. The GIS tool shows all existing offshore wind farms in UK waters colour-coded according to the number of studies pertaining to each. Maps and summary statistics of offshore wind farms and ecosystem service interactions can be viewed using a web-based GIS interface. 

Useful Links

ORIES Data Portal
ORIES Data Portal

Explore the ORIES Data Portal, a comprehensive resource for data on [topic].

Visit Portal
ORIES Database screenshot
ORIES Database and R Shiny Tool

Access the ORIES Database and R Shiny Tool for advanced analysis and visualization.

Explore Tool

User Guide

 Click here to download the user guide for the Decision Support Tools (PDF, 1MB)

We encourage users to get in touch with us in order to receive advice and support in implementing the tool. For this please contact Dr Stephen Watson, Lead Developer of the ORIES tool and Senior Ecosystem Service Scientist at PML:


Watch the video about ORIES


Professor Nicola Beaumont, Head of the Sea and Society Group at PML, said:

“ORIES addresses an urgent need. The UK has set legally binding targets to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions and increase the use of renewable energy, and offshore wind capacity in UK waters is expected to grow five-fold by 2030, and potentially ten-fold by 2050.”

“While the rapid expansion of offshore renewables is vital for addressing climate change, it also has the potential to cause considerable damage to marine habitats that support precious biodiversity and store large volumes of carbon. Impacts of offshore wind on biodiversity urgently need to be evaluated to optimise outcomes for climate and biodiversity.”

“We cannot thank our funding partners enough for investing in this tool, which will support the facilitation of the expansion of environmentally sustainable offshore wind energy.”

Related Article: PML awarded grant to facilitate expansion of environmentally-sustainable marine UK wind energy.

Papers using the ORIES database

Watson et al., (2024) The global impact of offshore wind farms on ecosystem services. Ocean & Coastal Management
Szostek et al., 2024 Primary vs grey: A critical evaluation of literature sources used to assess the impacts of offshore wind farms. Environmental Science & Policy

With funding from:

Garfield Weston FOUNDATION logo

Economic and social research council logo
Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council