Spatial planning to estimate the offshore wind energy potential in coastal regions and islands. Practical case: the Canary Islands
The Canary Islands, as many islands and coastal regions, are characterized by no conventional energy sources (but renewable resources, mainly wind and solar), by a high population density and land scarcity. Taking into account this context, it is crucial to determine the offshore wind energy potential as a first step for the energy planning. For this purpose, a methodology adapted to islands’ and coastal regions’ requirements has been developed. The methodology is based on GIS (Geographical Information Systems), and takes into account technical, economic and spatial constrains. Wind turbines (bottom-fixed or floating according to the bathymetry) are placed within the resulting suitable areas, quantifying also the energy production and its cost. The economic analysis includes the calculation of the LCOE (Levelized Cost Of Energy), including integration costs, and the resulting resource cost curves. The methodology has been applied to a practical case, the Canary Islands. Results show that the electricity produced by offshore wind farms exceeds the yearly electricity demand. Moreover, the offshore wind energy cost is lower than the current electricity cost. The analysis provides further useful indicators such as percentage of suitable areas, surface covered by wind turbines, array density of turbines and marginal offshore wind energy cost.