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Offshore Renewable Energy & Aquaculture

The ambitious EU objectives for the marine renewables industry are resulting in an increase in the number of Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Installations. The most dominant and developed type of ORE is Offshore Wind Farms (OWF), but research and testing are progressing on other technologies (see “sector’s characteristic” below). 

At the same time, the EU aquaculture sector is slowly but steadily growing with an increasing demand for aquaculture products. The strategic guidelines for a more sustainable and competitive EU aquaculture provide a vision for the further development of aquaculture, in a way that contributes to the European Green Deal. The Communication ‘Towards a strong and sustainable EU algae sector' complements the guidelines with specific actions to support the development of algae production.

The ORE and aquaculture sector show great potential of coexistence and even multi-use, as the synergetic development of ORE and aquaculture facilities at sea is also a way to reduce costs through shared infrastructure. This fiche sets out the key possibilities for both sectors to co-exist and engage in synergetic multi-use activities.

Related challenges

As explained in the introduction, the two sectors show great possibilities of synergetic interactions, and bringing them together could allow to generate economic and environmental benefits. Therefore, the relationship between these two sectors is more characterized by the possibilities of synergies than by the existence of “challenges” per se, as they rarely compete for the same spaces. On one hand, suitable areas for the development of marine aquaculture are usually close to shore, ensuring that servicing costs are kept to a minimum. On the other hand, ORE installations and mainly Offshore Wind Farm (OWF) must comply with regulatory measures which require them to respect a minimum distance from the shore, which is typically beyond the nearshore locations favoured by aquaculture developments. Some ORE technologies can be placed closer to the coastline and could therefore overlap with aquaculture developments, but for OWF, being the most widespread ORE technology, the incidence of such potential interactions is very limited. 

However, some difficulties can be identified when studying the possibility of collocating ORE and aquaculture. 

Related enablers












Existing co-existence and multi-use initiatives

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