Spatial claims concerning the rapidly growing European offshore wind sector give rise to various ideas for the multi-use application of wind farms. Seaweed is considered a promising feedstock for food and feed that could be produced at offshore wind farms. Concerns about risks resulting in liability claims and insurance premiums are often seen as show-stoppers to multi-use at offshore wind farms. In this study, key environmental risks of seaweed cultivation at offshore wind farms, identified through literature review, are characterized based on stakeholder consultation. The current approach to risk governance is evaluated to assess how it can handle the uncertain, complex, and/or ambiguous risks of multi-use. It is concluded that current risk governance for multi-use is poorly equipped to deal with the systemic nature of risks. Risk governance should be a joint effort of governments and private regulators. It can improve if it is based on an adaptive framework for risk assessment that can deal with complex, systemic risks. Furthermore, it should be flexible and inclusive, i.e., open to new incoming information and stakeholder input, and taking into account and communicate about the different stakes and values of the various parties involved. The importance of communication and inclusion must be recognized, which promotes participation of concerned stakeholders.
Coastal and Offshore Energy
The wave energy resources in the Indian Ocean can be considered as a potential alternative to fossil fuels. However, the wave energy resources are subject to short-term fluctuations and long-term changes due to climate change. Hence, considering sustainable development goals, it is necessary to assess both short-term (intra-annual) variation and long-term change. For this purpose, the simulated wave characteristics were utilized, and the wave power and its variation and change were analyzed in the whole domain and nearshore areas. The short-term fluctuation was investigated in terms of monthly and seasonal variations and the future change was discussed based on absolute and relative changes. Both analyses show that the Southern Indian Ocean, despite experiencing extreme events and having higher wave energy potential, is more stable in terms of both short and long-term variation and change. The assessment of the total and exploitable storages of wave energy and their future change revealed the higher potential and higher stability of the nearshores of the Southern Indian Ocean. It can be concluded that based on various factors, the south of Sri Lanka, Horn of Africa, southeast Africa, south of Madagascar and Reunion and Mauritius islands are the most suitable areas for wave energy extraction.
Over the last decade, the accelerated transition towards cleaner means of producing energy has been clearly prioritised by the European Union through large-scale planned deployment of wind farms in the North Sea. From a spatial planning perspective, this has not been a straight-forward process, due to substantial spatial conflicts with the traditional users of the sea, especially with fisheries and protected areas. In this article, we examine the availability of offshore space for wind farm deployment, from a transnational perspective, while taking into account different options for the management of the maritime area through four scenarios. We applied a mixed-method approach, combining expert knowledge and document analysis with the spatial visualisation of existing and future maritime spatial claims. Our calculations clearly indicate a low availability of suitable locations for offshore wind in the proximity of the shore and in shallow waters, even when considering its multi-use with fisheries and protected areas. However, the areas within 100 km from shore and with a water depth above –120 m attract greater opportunities for both single use (only offshore wind farms) and multi-use (mainly with fisheries), from an integrated planning perspective. On the other hand, the decrease of energy targets combined with sectoral planning result in clear limitations to suitable areas for offshore wind farms, indicating the necessity to consider areas with a water depth below –120 m and further than 100 km from shore. Therefore, despite the increased costs of maintenance and design adaptation, the multi-use of space can be a solution for more sustainable, stakeholder-engaged and cost-effective options in the energy deployment process. This paper identifies potential pathways, as well as challenges and opportunities for future offshore space management with the aim of achieving the 2050 renewable energy targets.
Although the regime for managing oceans and offshore energy development are complex internationally and within the United States, some regulatory structures have proven to be both successful and adaptable in a changing energy landscape. The European Union provides a useful model for regional collaboration and marine planning, a model that could be adapted to the United States to ensure sustainable marine management as more offshore lands are opened to energy development. Many of the structures that would encourage this development have already begun to form within the United States, enabling the exact kinds of management embraced by the European model.
Understanding the factors influencing community acceptance of renewable energy projects such as offshore wind farms is important for achieving a transition to low carbon energy sources. However, to date community acceptance research has concentrated on responses to actual proposals, seeking to explain local objections. ‘Upstream’ research that investigates the ‘place-technology fit’ of a potential renewable energy project before it is proposed is scarce, yet can inform technology deployment by taking local knowledge and preferences into account. We address this gap in a study conducted in Guernsey, Channel Islands. Data was collected using a survey (n = 468) co-designed with island policy makers presenting technical, economic and locational details of a potential offshore wind project. Results show that acceptance of the same project design differed significantly across alternative development locations. Regression analyses compared the roles of personal, context and project-related factors in explaining acceptance for each site. Support for using wind energy for local electricity supply was the most important predictor of acceptance, and this variable mediated the relationship between island energy security and community acceptance. We conclude that place matters for community acceptance and that security and autonomy are co-benefits of local renewable energy projects that deserve further research.
This paper investigates the optimum tidal energy converter array density at a tidal inlet by applying surrogate-based optimisation. The SBO procedure comprises problem formulation, design of experiments, numerical simulations, surrogate model construction and constrained optimisation. This study presents an example for the Faro-Olhão Inlet in the Ria Formosa (Portugal), a potential site for tidal in-stream energy extraction. A 35 kW Evopod™ floating tidal energy converter from Oceanflow Energy Ltd. has been used for array size calculations considering two design variables: (1) number of array rows, and (2) number of tidal energy converter per row. Arrays up to 13 rows with 6–11 tidal energy converters each are studied to assess their impacts on array performance, inlets discharges and bathymetry changes. The analysis identified the positive/negative feedbacks between the two design variables in real case complex flow fields under variable bathymetry and channel morphology. The non-uniformity of tidal currents along the array region causes the variability of the resource in each row, as well as makes it difficult to predict the resultant array configuration interactions. Four different multi-objective optimisation models are formulated subject to a set of performance and environmental constraints. Results from the optimisation models imply that the largest array size that meets the environmental constraints is made of 5 rows with 6 tidal energy converter each and an overall capacity factor of 11.6% resulting in an energy production of 1.01 GWh year−1. On the other hand, a higher energy production (1.20 GWh year−1) is achieved by an optimum array configuration, made of 3 rows with 10 tidal energy converters per row, which maximises power output satisfying environmental and performance restrictions. This optimal configuration permits a good level of energy extraction while having a reduced effect on the hydrodynamic functioning of the multi-inlet system. These results prove the suitability and the potential wide use of the surrogate-based optimisation method to define array characteristics that enhance power production and at the same time respect the environmental surrounding conditions.
Renewable energy and sustainable food production are high on the international agenda, as is the prospect of expanding activity northwards to Arctic waters. In this article, we review core elements of the marine governance systems for aquaculture facilities and offshore wind farms in Norway and Scotland. Management of these sectors through strategic planning, marine spatial planning and licensing systems furthers rule of law values such as stability and predictability, making investment less risky. The review illustrates how the governance systems also facilitate flexibility and adaptability, balancing predictability considerations against the need to adapt management to natural and economic changes and innovative technologies, or even effective multi-use. This article discusses what endeavours have been made to strike a balance between predictability and adaptability in these sectors in Norway and Scotland. This study of marine management regimes in the Arctic and northern parts of the Temperate Northern Atlantic, and the values underpinning these regimes, provides lessons for the future of the Arctic.
Specific risks to offshore oil and gas operations manifest in the Arctic and other harsh environments. Such extreme operating conditions can disrupt the offshore infrastructure and cause major accidents, posing a great challenge to operators. A thorough investigation of past incidents helps to learn lessons to ensure that a recurrence of serious accidents affecting workers and the environment can be prevented.
The analysis of past incidents is divided into two parts. First, we offer a statistical analysis of offshore incidents triggered by natural events in the Arctic and in similar harsh environments. The analysis, organised by location, cause, and type of damage, failure mechanisms, and consequences, is based on data from the World Offshore Accident Database (WOAD). Second, we analyse a selection of accidents that occurred in the recent past in ice-prone seas, with particular attention to potential deficiencies in safety measures, design requirements and design methodologies, operations planning and component reliability.
Based on the analysis, important lessons were identified which stress the need for further efforts to ensure the safety of workers and of assets and to get all actors involved in offshore operations engaged towards achieving a safer future for the exploitation of oil and gas resources.
Although offshore wind energy development (OWED) offers a much-needed renewable energy alternative to fossil fuels, holistic and effective methods for evaluating environmental impacts on wildlife in both space and time have been lacking. The lengthy environmental compliance process, estimated to incur a 7–10 year permitting timeline , has been identified as a significant impediment to offshore energy development in U.S. waters. During operation, seabirds can collide and be displaced by turbines. During episodic pre-operation phases, cetaceans are most heavily impacted acoustically by pile driving (and similarly seismic air gun surveys for oil and gas exploration). The varying nature of impacts in space and time leads us to conclude that sites should be selected in space to minimize long-term operational impacts on seabirds, and timing of surveying and construction activities to be conducted in times of the year when sensitive migratory marine mammals are least present. We developed a novel spatiotemporal decision support framework that interactively visualizes tradeoffs between OWED industry profits and wildlife sensitivities, in both space and time. The framework highlights sites on a map that are the most profitable and least sensitive to seabirds. Within the U.S. Mid-Atlantic study area, the New York Call Areas are particularly well optimized for minimal impact on seabirds with maximal profits to OWED. For a given site, pre-operational activities (e.g. pile driving and seismic air gun surveying) are advised by cetacean sensitivity across months of the year that minimize impacts on migratory cetaceans, particularly those of highest conservation concern such as the North Atlantic right whale (Eubalaena Glacialis). For instance, within optimal sites for the New York Call Area the least impacting months are May and June. Other taxa are certainly affected by OWED and should be incorporated into this framework, but data on their distributions and/or sensitivities is currently less well known. Built with open-source software made publicly available, the authors hope this framework will be extended even more comprehensively into the future as our knowledge on species distributions and OWED sensitivities expands for streamlining environmental compliance.
In those countries where wind plays a major role in the energy mix (EU, China and USA) actions have been carried out to develop offshore wind energy, albeit to varying degrees. These actions range from studying offshore wind to the development of laws and planning related to the construction of wind farms. Europe currently leads the way in offshore wind energy (with 84% of global installations), having achieved technical and commercial maturity, including the first floating wind farm to generate electricity, together with an emerging zero-subsidy culture. The Chinese wind industry has seen rapid development since 2005, however, well established laws, the use of a one-stop-shop system in the licencing process, and the establishment of higher feed-in tariffs (FITs), could all boost the Chinese offshore wind industry further. The possible future role of the USA in the offshore wind industry is now in the hands of its decision makers. A more streamlined licencing process, together with a long-term vision enshrined within stable economic incentives, could help to boost the offshore wind industry in the USA.