This paper presents a multi-criteria selection approach for offshore wind sites assessment. The proposed site selection framework takes into consideration the electricity network’s operating security aspects, economic investment, operation costs and capacity performances relative to each potential site. The selection decision is made through Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP), with an inherited flexibility that aims to allow end users to adjust the expected benefits accordingly to their respective and global priorities. The proposed site selection framework is implemented as an interactive case study for three Baltic States in the 2020 time horizon, based on real data and exhaustive power network models, taking into consideration the foreseen upgrades and network reinforcements. For each country the optimal offshore wind sites are assessed under multiple weight contribution scenarios, reflecting the characteristics of market design, regulatory aspects or renewable integration targets.
Coastal and Offshore Energy
For Marine Renewable Energy (MRE) to become a viable alternative energy source, it must encompass large arrays of devices. Arrays may include 1000s of devices. The associated foundations or anchors may encounter a range of seafloor sediment types and geotechnical properties. Wave and tidal energy convertors induce unique loads on foundations and anchors that are different from other seafloor engineering applications. Thus, there is a need for a combination of advanced site analysis and performance assessment. Geotechnical engineering plays the vital role of ensuring that foundation and anchor systems perform successfully for MRE devices. Our paper reviews the unique frequency and magnitude of loading regimes experienced by MRE arrays. We examine potential loading conditions on the foundation-anchor systems. Loading regimes include environmental and system loads from single devices or arrays of devices. We present specific load examples from field data. We explore the applicable geotechnical approaches to address these conditions, including constitutive models that may or may not adequately capture the response of the seafloor sediments to the MRE loads. Partially to fully dynamic constitutive model formulations may be necessary to properly model sediment-fluid hydromechanical response to MRE loading. Spacing of full MRE arrays and spatial variability in sediment properties may require multiple foundation types.
The exploration of deep-sea mineral resources on continental margins is increasing worldwide. In the SW Atlantic, Campos Basin has been Brazil's main deep-sea area for oil and gas extraction since the 1980′s, with currently over 11,000 km2 of leased blocks below 200 m depth. The historical record of exploration and the lack of a basin-wide management for the offshore industry in the SW Atlantic threaten the biodiversity and ecological function of vulnerable deep-sea ecosystems. This study identified habitats of biological interest on the Campos Basin and proposes relevant areas for conservation (EBSAs) that could be included in the first deep-sea Marine Protected Area (MPA) network in the South Atlantic. A total of 42 benthic habitats were mapped including cold-water coral reefs, submarine canyons, soft sediment slope and a seamount. Those habitats fill conservation criteria to be proposed as EBSAs along Campos Basin and could support a MPA network with a 5.5% overlap (2330 km2) to current leased blocks. If implemented, the MPA network would cover 31% of the Campos Basin and offer 31–100% protection of EBSAs with minimal interference on industry. This study is the first to identify EBSAs in a deep-sea basin of major economic importance in Brazil's EEZ and their conservation would also protect areas at two biogeographic provinces in the South Atlantic. Furthermore, the methods demonstrated here could be widely applied to other offshore oil and gas areas that lack environmental management measures at early stages of bidding rounds or during the process of environmental licensing.
The use of rigorous methodologies to assess environmental, social and health impacts of specific interventions is crucial to disentangle the various components of environmental questions and to inform public opinion. The power of systematic maps relies on the capacity to summarise and organise the areas or relationships most studied, and to highlight key gaps in the evidence base. The recent Italian technical referendum (2016) – a public consultation inviting people to express their opinion by voting to change the rules on the length of licence duration and the decommissioning of offshore oil and gas platform drilling licences – inspired the creation of a systematic map of evidence to scope and quantify the effects of off-shore extraction platforms on Mediterranean marine ecosystems. The map was aimed as a useful model to standardise a “minimal informational threshold”, which can inform public opinion at the beginning of any public consultation. Produced by synthesising scientific information, the map represents a reliable layer for any future sustainable strategy in the Mediterranean basin by: (i) providing a summary of the effects of marine gas and oil platforms on the Mediterranean marine ecosystem, (ii) describing the best known affected components on which the biggest monitoring efforts have been focused, and (iii) strengthening the science-policy nexus by offering a credible, salient and legitimate knowledge baseline to both public opinion and decision-makers. The map exercise highlights the knowledge gaps that need filling and taking into due consideration before future transnational and cross-border monitoring and management plans and activities can be addressed.
Conversion to renewable energy sources is a logical response to the increasing pressure to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Ocean wave energy is the least developed renewable energy source, despite having the highest energy per unit area. While many hurdles remain in developing wave energy, assessing potential conflicts and evaluating tradeoffs with the existing uses is essential. Marine planning encompasses a broad array of activities that take place in and affect large marine ecosystems, making it an ideal tool for evaluating wave energy resource use conflicts. In this study, we used a spatially explicit, open source decision support tool to evaluate wave energy facility development off the U.S. west coast. We then used this output to identify potential conflicts between wave energy facilities and the existing marine uses in the context of marine planning. We found that regions with the highest wave energy potential were distant from major cities and that infrastructure limitations (cable landing sites) restrict integration with the existing power grids. We also identified multiple potential conflicts, including commercial fishing, shipping and transportation, and marine conservation areas. While wave energy generation facilities may be economically viable, we must also incorporate costs associated with conflicts that arise with the existing marine uses.
The MED Programme is part of the EU Regional Policy and operates in the framework of the European Territorial Cooperation objective. In 2014, the MED Programme approved 14 thematic projects specifically targeted on maritime context with two of them addressing marine renewable energy and renewable energy in coastal areas: Bluene and Enercoast. These projects aim at contributing to the deployment of marine renewable energy technologies in the Mediterranean by gathering data, developing mapping activities, identifying policy gaps and addressing other obstacles hindering transnational cooperation potential. The objective of this article is to analyse the delivered results and outputs of these projects against the identified challenges and roadmap defined by the European Commission. Results were evaluated under a transferability and continuation approach applied to the period 2014–2020. This article also identifies and suggests ways in which transnational cooperation would enhance obtained results towards a higher implementation of marine renewable energy in the Mediterranean.
Marine energy technologies can contribute to meeting sustainability challenges, but they are still immature and dependent on public support. This paper employs the Technological Innovation Systems (TIS) framework to analyze the development and diffusion of Swedish marine energy up until 2014. While there were promising device developers, relevant industrial capabilities, and world-class research, the system suffered from weaknesses in several important innovation processes. Finally, the analysis identifies the lack of informed political direction as a critical blocking factor and highlights its connection to domestic market potential.
Globally, the deployment of offshore wind is expanding rapidly. An improved understanding of the economic, social and environmental impacts of this sector, and how they compare with those of other energy systems, is therefore necessary to support energy policy and planning decisions. The ecosystem services approach provides a more holistic perspective of socio-ecological systems than traditional environmental impact assessment. The approach also makes possible comparisons across disparate ecological communities because it considers the societal implications of ecological impacts rather than remaining focused on specific species or habitats. By reporting outcomes in societal terms, the approach also facilitates communication with decision makers and the evaluation of trade-offs. The impacts of offshore wind development on ecosystem services were assessed through a qualitative process of mapping the ecological and cultural parameters evaluated in 78 empirical studies onto the Common International Classification for Ecosystem Services (CICES) framework. The research demonstrates that a wide range of biophysical variables can be consistently mapped onto the CICES hierarchy, supporting development of the ecosystem service approach from a broad concept into an operational tool for impact assessment. However, to improve confidence in the outcomes, there remains a need for direct measurement of the impacts of offshore wind farms on ecosystem services and for standardised definitions of the assumptions made in linking ecological and cultural change to ecosystem service impacts. The process showed that offshore wind farms have mixed impacts across different ecosystem services, with negative effects on the seascape and the spread of non-native species, and positive effects on commercial fish and shellfish, potentially of most significance. The work also highlighted the need for a better understanding of long term and population level effects of offshore wind farms on species and habitats, and how these are placed in the context of other pressures on the marine environment.
Worldwide the renewable energy sector is expanding at sea to address increasing demands. Recently the race for space in heavily used areas such as the North Sea triggered the proposal of co-locating other activities such as aquaculture or fisheries with passive gears in offshore wind farms (OWFs). Our interdisciplinary approach combined a quantification of spatial overlap of activities by using Vessel Monitoring System and logbook data with a stakeholder consultation to conclude and verify on the actual feasibility of co-location. In the German Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of the North Sea up to 90% of Danish and 40% of German annual gillnet fleet landings of plaice overlapped with areas where OWFs are developed. Our results indicated further that the international gillnet fishery could lose up to 50% in landings within the North Sea German EEZ when OWF areas are closed entirely for fisheries. No spatial overlap was found for UK potters targeting brown crab in the German EEZ. We further identified a number of key issues and obstacles that to date hinder an actual implementation of co-location as a measure in the marine spatial planning process: defining the legal base; implementation of safety regulations; delineation of minimum requirements for fishing vessels such as capacities, quotas, technical equipment; implementation of a licensing process; and scoping for financial subsidies to set up business. The stakeholder consultation verified the scientific findings and highlighted that all those points need to be addressed in a planning process. In the German EEZ we have shown that the socio-economic importance of spatial overlap varies within planning boundaries. Therefore we recommend an interdisciplinary bottom-up approach when scoping for suitable areas of co-location. Hence, an informed marine spatial planning process requires comprehensive and spatial explicit socio-economic viability studies factoring in also ecological effects of OWFs on target species.
The potential power output expected from the installation of a tidal farm near the mesotidal Ria de Vigo (NW Spain) is assessed using two different tidal stream energy converters (TEC). For this, the results of a previous resource assessment based on a 28-day long hydrodynamic simulation are used. From this data we identify the areas susceptible of hosting the farms, select the optimal location for them, and assess the total available and extractable energy for each turbine type. Finally, using a simple farm design based on standard inter-turbine separation, we estimate the expected power supplied by the farm. Irrespective of the site, the total available tidal power in the areas susceptible of hosting the farms is around 150 MW; at the optimal location, the hourly extractable power is about 22.5 MW, of which only between 10% and 15% can be harnessed by the designed farms, powering between 4411 and 6638 homes. A local analysis of the most energetic subregions within these sites increases this ratio up to 30%. Nevertheless, the power output is sufficient to fulfil the needs of between 1660 and 2213 households, depending on the chosen site and the selected TEC.