Notwithstanding their potential benefit as a non-carbon-emitting energy source, the number and the size of marine renewable energy (MRE) farms increases conflict uses, creating a kind of private occupation of the sea space. The multipurpose marine cadastre (MMC) seems to be an efficient tool to determine a better way to allocate exclusive rights to ocean energy developers, in accordance with other users rights. The United-States are the pioneers with their marinecadastre.gov website, which has been set clearly to promote offshore renewable energy, and many others countries are studying this concept, as a complement to marine spatial planning.
Coastal and Offshore Energy
The development of offshore wind energy and other competing interests in sea space are a major incentive for designating marine and coastal areas for specific human activities. Maritime Spatial Planning (MSP) considers human activities at sea in a more integrated way by analysing and designating spatial and temporal distributions of human activities based on ecological, economic and social targets. However, specific tools supporting spatial decisions at sea incorporating all relevant sectors are rarely adopted. The decision support tool Marxan is traditionally used for systematic selection and designation of nature protection and conservation areas. In this study, Marxan was applied as a support tool to identify suitable sites for offshore wind power in the pilot area Pomeranian Bight / Arkona Basin in the western Baltic Sea. The software was successfully tested and scenarios were developed that support the sites indicated in existing national plans, but also show options for alternative developments of offshore wind power in the Pomeranian Bight / Arkona Basin area.
Increasingly, marine renewable energy developments are viewed as an opportunity to meet climate change obligations, with the added benefit of powering the economy and the creation of jobs. Technical, economic and engineering challenges co-exist with governance challenges in the development of large-scale marine renewable energy projects. This paper addresses the question, if the prerequisites for sustainable project development are evident in selected case studies. It also asks what lessons can be learned from current practice in the context of energy governance at the local level. The authors argue that these lessons can be central enablers to support decision makers in future programmes, to better understand how to build the enabling conditions for programme implementation towards renewable energy at higher spatial scales of governance, importantly the national level. The study builds on a multiple stakeholder approach involving interviews and group discussions with key individuals from industry, government and civil society in emerging pilot programmes along the East Coast of the United States (U.S.). New policy windows were opening at the time of the analysis and ambitious development was underway by a range of actors who are driving progress in the sector and positioning the area to become a major provider of blue energy.
Offshore wind farms (OWF) form an important part of many countries strategy for responding to the threat of climate change, their development can conflict with other offshore activities. Static gear fisheries targeting sedentary benthic species are particularly affected by spatial management that involves exclusion of fishers. Here we investigate the ecological effect of a short-term closure of a European lobster (Homarus gammarus (L.)) fishing ground, facilitated by the development of the Westermost Rough OWF located on the north-east coast of the United Kingdom. We also investigate the effects on the population when the site is reopened on completion of the construction. We find that temporary closure offers some respite for adult animals and leads to increases in abundance and size of the target species in that area. Reopening of the site to fishing exploitation saw a decrease in catch rates and size structure, this did not reach levels below that of the surrounding area. Opening the site to exploitation allows the fishery to recuperate some of the economic loss during the closure. We suggest that our results may indicate that temporary closures of selected areas may be beneficial and offer a management option for lobster fisheries.
Wind energy is considered one of the most promising clean technologies for power generation. For the sustainable development of this industry, it is essential that planning integrate spatial zoning with estimates of installed capacity and energy production. A Geographic Information System-based methodology was developed to propose planning for wind farms from a spatial perspective in the extreme south of Brazil. Through multi-criteria evaluation, the feasibility of the study area for this activity was analyzed according to suitability and constraint criteria. The assessment of suitability was based on wind energy exploitation, while the constraint analysis was based on the environmental legislation, social aspects and exclusion areas. In the suitability analysis, importance weights were assigned to the variables according to the unprecedented combination of the Delphi, linear and geometric Analytic Hierarchy Process methods. Constraint and suitability maps were established for the wind farms. The integration of both aspects allowed the generation of a spatial zoning map. Based on this zoning, installed capacity was calculated according to technical characteristics of a reference wind turbine. Finally, energy production of the suitable zones was estimated. The proposed spatial planning aims to contribute to the licensing processes in southern Brazil. Furthermore, the methodology developed can be replicated in other similar case studies.
Over the past decade, the increasing demand for renewable energy has driven the rapid development of China's offshore wind industry. However, it is not clear to developers and management departments which types of sea areas can be used for offshore wind projects. According to the provincial marine functional zoning (MFZ), China's coastal provinces have put offshore wind zoning (OWZ) into practice. This paper clarifies the method of OWZ, collects the results from offshore wind zones (OWZs) of 10 coastal provinces, and assesses the characteristics of OWZs by area, functional attribute and distance from the coastline. The results show that most of the areas available for offshore wind are co-existence zones where offshore wind can be sited in an agricultural and fisheries zone, an industrial and urban construction zone, a special-use zone, etc. Currently, 47% of existing offshore wind projects have been located in the OWZs in the East China Sea. Moreover, parts of the coastline distance of OWZs do not meet the “double-ten principle” in China or global siting trends. Generally, the existing areas for OWZ would allow China to meet its national target by 2020, but measures still need to be taken to meet the demands of conservation and sea-use management.
This article has an empirical focus on energy transition using the emerging offshore renewable energy (ORE) industries in the context of global governance. First, it explores and assesses pertinent discussions on sustainability and transformation within energy systems and the marine space. Then, it studies potential policy linkages within ORE governance which, although relying on clearly defined objectives and targets (e.g. climate change mitigation, increased share of renewable energy, energy security), could translate into polycentricity and institutional complexity/fragmentation. Previous research has focused on the technical, legal and policy challenges of deploying ORE technologies, however there is not any systematic review of who are its global governors. Certainly, the importance of the International Renewable Energy Agency and other renewable energy intergovernmental institutions has not been overlooked. Nevertheless, there are other international organisations whose mandate extends beyond renewable energy and several non-state actors who claim a role in ORE governance. This article puts forward a comprehensive analysis of the institutional architecture of global ORE governance with emphasis on the EU in order to shed a light on how ORE is being governed and who is involved. Results should advance knowledge on the scope, type and function of the institutions currently governing the exploration and exploitation of offshore renewable resources.
Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) can offer significant benefits in terms of economic conservation strategies, optimizing spatial planning and minimizing the impact on the environment. In this paper, we focused on the application of multi-criteria evaluation (MCE) technique for co-locating offshore wind farms and open-water mussel cultivation. An index of co-location sustainability (SI) was developed based on the application of MCE technique constructed with physical and biological parameters on the basis of remote sensing data. The relevant physical factors considered were wind velocity, depth range, concerning the site location for energy production, and sea surface temperature anomaly. The biological variables used were Chlorofill-a (as a measurement of the productivity) and Particle Organic Carbon (POC) concentration, in order to assess their influence on the probable benefits and complete the requirements of this management framework. This SI can be easily implemented to do a first order selection of the most promising areas to be more specifically studied in a second order approach based on local field data
In this work, an extended overview of the marine renewable energy in the Mediterranean Sea is provided as regards current status, potential problems, challenges, and perspectives of development. An integrated and holistic approach is necessary for the economic viability and sustainability of marine renewable energy projects; this approach comprises three different frameworks, not always aligned, i.e., geotechnical/engineering, socio-economic, and environmental/ecological frameworks. In this context, the geomorphological, climatological, socio-economic, and environmental/ecological particularities of the Mediterranean basin are discussed, as they constitute key issues of the spatial context in which marine renewable energy projects are to be implemented. General guidelines for the sustainable development of marine renewable energy in the Mediterranean are also provided.
Previous research on offshore wind farm (OWF) siting has been dominated by studies centred on energy resources and profitability, human activities and acceptance. Recently, studies on environmental impacts of OWFs have emerged. Few studies have been carried out to discuss the issues comprehensively. This study develops a set of comprehensive OWF siting criteria; including the profitability, social, security and environmental considerations. It solicits expert opinions from academia and industry through an international Delphi method. Contrary to the typical consensus seeking in Delphi studies, it focuses on understanding the dissensus through a comprehensive discussion. We find that profitability and social considerations are the most commonly agreed siting criteria among the experts whereas environmental and security criteria receive less agreement. As OWFs move further offshore, we are concerned about the understanding of the associated environmental impacts, and how energy and marine policy affect the marine spatial planning and consenting process. Research must get ahead of the developments to provide a better understanding of the potential impacts and to guide the consenting and monitoring processes.