The predicted expansion of the global offshore wind sector is likely to increase conflicts as users of the coastal zone compete for space, and the displacement of fisheries is of particular concern. It is therefore important to explore opportunities that could support the co-existence of offshore wind farms (OWFs) and fishing activity. In addition to ecological evidence on the effects of OWFs on commercially exploited species, the co-location issue requires understanding of the perceptions of fishers and OWF developers on key constraints and opportunities. Interviews were carried out in 2013 with 67 fishers in South Wales and Eastern England and with 11 developers from major energy companies, to discover experiences and opinions on the co-location of OWFs with crab and lobster fisheries. Developers expressed broad support for co-location, perceiving potential benefits to their relationship with fishers and their wider reputation. Fishers had more mixed opinions, with geographical variation, and exhibited a range of risk perception. The lack of reported experience of potting within OWFs was not related to stock concerns but to uncertainty around safety, gear retrieval, insurance and liability. Clear protocols and communication to address these issues are essential if co-location is to be feasible. Scale may also limit the potential benefits to fishers, especially in that large offshore OWFs are likely to be inaccessible to much of the inshore fleet. There remains the potential to enhance the artificial reef effects of OWFs by deploying additional material between the turbines, but options to finance such schemes, and how investment by OWF developers could be offset against compensation paid to displaced fishers, require further investigation.
Coastal and Offshore Energy
As governments from the local to national level have recognized the need to integrate renewable sources into their energy portfolios, there has been a recent push to harness diverse sources of ocean energy, including those generated by tides and waves. Despite the potential benefits, development of these marine and hydrokinetic (MHK) resources has raised concerns in terms of their potential socioeconomic and environmental impacts. An ecosystem services perspective offers a useful means of monitoring how MHKs will affect both people and nature by enabling the identification of the benefits provided by functioning ecosystems to people, including biodiversity, tourism and recreation, and food provision. To illustrate the value of this approach in evaluating the potential impacts of an MHK project, we present the case study of the Muskeget Channel Tidal Energy Project (United States) and identify the types of data and analytical tools that could be used to develop an ecosystem service assessment of MHK development in this study region. To complement this case study, we also reviewed the published literature on tidal energy and other MHK project types, which highlighted how little is known about the ecological effects of MHK development in coastal and marine ecosystems. Integrating ecosystem service knowledge into projects like Muskeget Channel can contribute to more scientifically informed MHK siting processes and more effective, ecosystem-based management of the diverse human activities undertaken in coastal and marine environments.
Offshore wind is mainly exploited for electricity production in Northern European countries where shallow waters exist. Although technology has been progressed to provide the offshore wind sector with many pioneering projects, there are still several interesting subjects for investigation, such as the very high costs of fixed-bottom offshore wind facilities in deep waters, constraining the implementation of offshore wind parks only in swallow waters. The exploitation of the vast wind resources in larger water depths is very significant for the offshore wind sector expansion, thus floating wind turbines are needed. This paper explores the feasibility of the, still immature, floating wind technology in deep waters, such as the Mediterranean Sea and under which conditions offshore wind farms can be implanted. The techno-economic study of the project, estimating the complete payback period, the net present value and the internal rate of return, revealed the conditions needed for its profitability. In addition, the social benefits from the floating wind park operation, which are related with the reduction of the oil imports, the savings from carbon dioxide emissions and other externalities, are compared with the applied feed in tariffs, in order to provide their break even values.
Although the expansion of offshore wind has recently increased in Germany, as in other countries, it is still forced to defend its role in long-term energy policy plans, particularly against its onshore counterpart, to secure future expansion targets and financial support. The objective of this article is to investigate the economic effects of offshore wind on the electricity spot market and thus open up another perspective that has not been part of the debate about offshore vs. onshore wind thus far. A comprehensive assessment based on a large amount of market, feed-in and weather data in Germany revealed that the market value of offshore wind is generally higher than that of onshore wind. Simulating the merit order effect on the German day-ahead electricity market for the short term and long term in the years 2006–2014 aimed to identify the reason for this observation and show whether it is also an indication of a lower impact on the electricity spot market due to a steadier wind resource prevailing offshore. Although the results suggest no difference regarding the impact on market price and value, they indeed reveal that offshore wind imposes less variability on the spot market price than onshore wind. In addition, the long-term simulation proved that the ongoing price deterioration cannot be blamed on the characteristic of variable wind production.
The drive to increase renewable electricity production in many parts of Europe has led to an increasing concentration of location of new sites at sea. This results in a range of environmental impacts which should be taken into account in a benefit-cost analysis of such proposal. In this paper, we use choice modelling to investigate the relative gains and losses from siting new windfarms off the coast of Estonia, relative to the option of creating a new marine protected area. Methodologically, the paper makes a contribution by showing the ability of the latent class mixed logit model to represent both within-and between-class preference heterogeneity, and thus its power to provide a more sophisticated representation of preference heterogeneity than latent class or mixed logit approaches. The paper is also the first to use the latent class mixed logit in willingness-to-pay space for environmental goods.
Caribbean residents outside of Trinidad and Tobago primarily utilize hydrocarbons for electricity, earning them the highest energy bills in the world. Apart from global climate change concerns, these high energy prices make it clear that alternative energy must be sourced for the Caribbean region. With Trinidad and Tobago׳s large offshore hydrocarbon reserves, Trinidad and Tobago has bolstered its economy and its expertise in offshore engineering and technology in the past five decades. Caribbean regional efforts to find ocean-based renewable energy resources can largely exploit the aforementioned advantages and opportunities in Trinidad and Tobago. The present work involves a collaboration between a team of engineers to collect and analyze oceanic data in Trinidad and Tobago, and a team of sustainability scholars to survey the maritime context of Trinidad and Tobago via the lens of sustainable development. This is done to appropriately contextualize Trinidad and Tobago, which is the territory via which Caribbean regional ocean-based power exploration is recommended.
The aim of this paper is to present the current status of the offshore wind industry and to identify trends in Offshore Wind Projects (OWPs). This was accomplished via a thorough analysis of the key characteristics – commissioning country, installed capacity, number of turbines, water depth, project area, distance to shore, transmission technology and investment cost – of the commissioned and under construction European OWPs. Furthermore, the current status of the several countries outside of Europe was also investigated. The analysis revealed that the European offshore wind power grew on average 36.1% yearly since 2001. Currently, there are 7748 MW installed and 3198 MW under construction distributed among 76 OWPs situated in European waters. These projects are spread among ten countries, with the highest share of offshore projects belonging to the northern European countries. The UK has 46% of the total installed European offshore wind capacity with 26 projects, Germany ranks second with 16, while Denmark is third with 13 projects. These countries constitute 88% of the European offshore capacity. The analysis also showed that, although the installed capacity of the OWPs is growing, the projects׳ area is not increasing at the same pace due to the release of turbines with higher rated capacities which allow projects to increase their power nameplate without proportionally increasing the number of turbines. The average distance to shore and the water depth are both increasing throughout the years. Although the average investment cost per project is rising with the higher distances to shore and water depths, the multi-GW plans of the northern European and Asian countries indicate that the industry will continue to grow. The European Union targets of having 40 GW of offshore wind capacity deployed by 2020 in Europe and 150 GW by 2030 may represent plausible scenarios since the required growth is below the European.
The exploitation of renewable energies, in particular offshore wind farms (OWFs), is an expanding sector which involves activities that may adversely affect the marine benthic ecology. Fit-for-purpose monitoring is required with sufficient statistical power to detect ecologically meaningful changes, but to date there have been no studies on the suitability of monitoring programmes applied to OWFs. The theoretical relationship of sampling effort with precision in community estimates and sensitivity of the analysis in detecting spatial changes was investigated, this latter assessed through power analysis. Benthic community monitoring strategies and descriptors applied to UK OWFs were used to interrogate real data variability in the marine environment. There was a general lack of clarity in the survey rationale and hypotheses tested within OWF monitoring programmes hence a lack of rigour in the survey design and statistical testing. Consequently the statistical properties of monitoring strategies have been rarely assessed. Precision of mean estimates of benthic community descriptors and the sensitivity in detecting differences in the means increased with sampling effort. At the average sampling effort applied in the OWF case studies (4 stations per impact type area and 3 replicates per station), the studies had sufficient power to detect a ≥50% change between areas in mean benthic species richness (S; 5 species). Due to their higher variability than S, more stations per impact type area were required to reliably detect a ≥50% change between areas in mean benthic abundance (N; 5 stations) and mean biomass (B; 10 stations). Higher sensitivity and precision of estimates of S, N and B was achieved with transformation of data. Understanding the general implications of monitoring design on the sensitivity of the detection of spatial changes is important, particularly when monitoring effort has to be adjusted due to logistic and financial constraints. Although there is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to marine environmental data acquisition, this study guides researchers, developers and regulators in optimising benthic monitoring strategies at OWFs.
Coastal and marine spatial planning (CMSP) involves characterizing the potential socioeconomic consequences of locating one or more human uses in place of others in the coastal ocean. Most commonly, the focus of CMSP is on the siting of alternative uses across ocean space. This article examines the broader economic and distributional effects of the potential siting of a renewable energy facility (wind power) in a southern New England offshore area that also is used intensively for commercial fishing. For a leading siting alternative, a counterfactual involving the complete displacement of commercial fishing would result in estimated direct output impacts to the regional economy of $5 million, leading to $11 million in direct, indirect, and induced impacts and a corresponding loss of about 150 jobs. Total economic welfare losses were estimated at $14 million, reflecting not only output reductions but also the effects of price increases in the relevant markets. The welfare losses would be progressively distributed, such that households in mid- to high-income categories would likely bear the most significant impacts. Adjusting these welfare losses for society׳s aversion to income inequality, inequality-adjusted impacts would be more pronounced in areas that are not necessarily located in close proximity to the coastline. Individual low-income households located in five non-coastal census tracts would bear estimated median impacts (≥$140/year), which would be an order of magnitude larger than those borne by the next group of impacted households. When implementing CMSP, it is critically important to characterize not only the distribution of effects over the coastal ocean but also the distribution of impacts on coupled human communities onshore, including those communities that may not be considered strictly coastal.
The paper provides an overview of linear generator development and testing experience of three different prototype solutions applicable for small-scale wave energy converters. The research was focused on wave power utilization in the Baltic Sea – basin of relatively low wave energy conditions. Developed technical solutions have been tested for their applicability and efficiency in small scale pilot cases. The presented concepts are based on developed linear generator. The unique arrangement of the pairs of permanent magnets and ferromagnetic cores between them was used in order to achieve better inductive properties of a magnetic field and as result, fewer materials were used and more electric power was generated. The developed engine was assessed against three concepts: (1) engine embedded in the stand-alone device in an almost water isolated floating carrier; (2) attached to a Single Point Mooring Buoy providing an additional source of energy for marine navigation signs; and (3) attached to the sea-wards looking pier in order to provide an illumination. Newly developed technical concept, such as a small-scale, versatile, low-cost and high capacity linear generator, and proposed installation solutions may open opportunities for wave energy utilization also in the regions of low wave energy such as the Baltic Sea.