International Association for Impact Assessment


IAIA is pleased to announce that the preliminary draft of a guidance document on the use of SEA for renewable energy is now available for review and comment, with feedback due by 15 June 2023. Climate change is a major driver of the need for an energy transition away from fossil fuels to renewable sources. Recognizing that the use of strategic environmental assessment (SEA) can greatly assist in the necessary shift towards renewable energy, IAIA launched a multi-phase initiative in 2022 as a key element in its wider Climate Change Action Plan. It aims to:

(a) Develop guidance for SEA for renewable energy
(b) Promote use of the guidance for SEAs undertaken for policies, plans and programmes that support the transition towards for renewable energy with low carbon future.

Barry Dalal-Clayton and Miles Scott-Brown have been engaged by IAIA to lead this important initiative. We are now progressing through Phase B and are pleased to share the preliminary draft guidance.



Three phases of the initiative


A: Launch Phase (January - June 2022):

  • Develop the scope/contents of guidance, prepare inventory of existing SEA guidelines
  • Establish oversight through a ‘Partners Council’ and ‘Technical Advisory Committee’
  • Establish a Reference Group of interested organizations and individuals
  • Prepare an Inception Report on how to proceed in Phase B and C

B: Development Phase (January – December 2023)

  • Prepare draft guidance (preliminary, full, and working drafts)
  • Receive inputs from technical experts
  • Engaging with partners for moving to implementation in Phase C
  • Open reviews  and present progress at IAIA’23 in Kuching

C: Implementation/roll-out (2024 – 2027 onwards)

  • Disseminate the guidance
  • Convert guidance to an online, searchable resource
  • Hold regional and other workshops for training and capacity building
  • Voluntary application of the guidance in various countries and developing case studies


The guidance will cover the basics of SEA (origins, theory, key steps, methods, and tools, etc.) and include chapters on key issues for hydropower, solar, wind, geothermal, tidal and bioenergy as well as the retirement of coal-fired power plants and closure of associated coal mines.

Further information about this initiative and reports are available under Resources > Hot Topics.

Preliminary draft now available for review

The preliminary draft is now available for review and comment. The chapters can be accessed below as separate pdf files to make their transfer, management and editing easier.

IAIA would welcome your comments and suggestions. These should be sent to: by no later than 15 June 2023.

If you know someone who may want to review this guidance, please share this page with them.

How to respond

It would greatly assist the consultants if you could frame your responses in the following manner:

  • If you have only general comments, these will be helpful (if only to know that you find the materials helpful and on the right track)
  • Provide your specific suggestions directly into the text of a chapter Word file (which you can request), using track change mode to help us fully understand your suggested changes. We would ask you to refrain from general comments in the text but provide them as above
  • We have included examples throughout the text to exemplify practice or to illustrate key points. But there may be better examples or ones that are more specific to renewable energy that you know about. Please provide these to us to show initiatives in a broad range of countries
  • For any insertions - and particularly where you cite data or provide an example, figure, table, box, image, etc. -  please provide a full reference  [insert the citation in the text – we will collate it into the reference section ourselves] and a working url where appropriate
  • For images you might provide, we may need permission to use – so please indicate the source (url or otherwise)
  • If you have examples of SEAs applied to renewable energy in other languages please also provide them to us
  • If you have any questions, please email us to the address above

These instructions are also available in PDF format.

Download the chapters

The following chapters can be dowloaded as pdf files. If you would like to suggest edits or additions to the text, please request a Word file version of the chapter and make you edits/additions directly into the text in 'track changes' mode and then send these to

Preliminaries (e.g. aims, definitions, abbreviations, contents, etc.)


Chapter 1         Background to SEA

Chapter 2         Legal requirements and commitments to applying SEA

Chapter 3         Stages and steps for undertaking SEA



Chapter 4         National and sub-national energy policies, plans and programmes and the use of SEA

Chapter 5         Key issues for SEA in the hydropower sub-sector

Chapter 6         Key issues for SEA in the wind power sub-sector

Chapter 7         Key issues for SEA in the solar power sub-sector

Chapter 8         Key issues for SEA in the bioenergy sub-sector

Chapter 9         Key issues for SEA in the geothermal energy sub-sector

Chapter 10        Key issues for SEA in the tidal energy sub-sector

Chapter 11        Key issues for SEA in retirement of coal-fired power stations and associated mine closures



Chapter 12        Guidance for institutions involved in the energy transition





Next steps

Following this first consultation window, (ends 15 June 2023), we will consider all responses and start work to revise the chapters and produce a full draft by the end of July 2023. This will also be available on this website for further review.

Following a further review window (August-September 2023), further revisions will be made to finalise a working draft  by October 2023. IAIA will then consider this for approval. This working draft will subsequently be available for use for general use during Phase C.



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