Introducing offshore wind energy in the sea space: Canary Islands case study developed under Maritime Spatial Planning principles

Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews

Volume 145, July 2021, 111119

Abstract: 

In this study, we define a novel methodological approach for introducing Offshore Wind Energy (OWE) facilities into sea space, determining the most suitable locations with regard to the five clusters: oceanographic potential; environmental sensibility; restrictions related to marine conservation; Land–Sea interactions; and avoiding potential conflict with current maritime and coastal activities.

The methodology was tested along 1.583 km of the Canary Islands coastline and across more than 50 000 km2 of related offshore areas. We have identified marine areas that have significant wind&depth potential, minimal impact on the marine environment, compatibility with marine conservation and conflict avoidance with operative economic maritime and coastal sectors (such as coastal tourism, fisheries, aquaculture, maritime transport, etc.). Suitability maps were developed with Decision Support System INDIMAR, a novel tool that analyses the OWE facilities’ relationship with each cluster parameter, introducing weights calculated by an Analytical Hierarchy Process.

OWE development needs to find a balance of all five clusters reflecting on Ecosystem-Based Management components that should be mirrored in the Maritime Spatial Planning (MSP) strategy, including options with tradeoffs among sectorial growth, conflict prevention and environmental protection & conservation.

Sea Basin(s): 
Country: 
Year: 
April 2021
Application in MSP: 
Taken into account in an MSP process
Sectors: 
Offshore renewable energy production
Type of Issue: 
Coexistence of uses
Data
Type of practice: 
Study
Stage of MSP cycle: 
Analyse spatial aspects
Develop and implement plan
Coherence with other processes: 
Marine Strategy Framework Directive

Questions this practice may help answer:

  • How is a multi-parameter analysis used to identify the most suitable locations for Offshore Wind Energy (OWE)?
  • How can Offshore Wind Energy be Introduced into marine space following Maritime Spatial Planning principles?

Implementation Context:

This study has been developed in the context of the PLASMAR & PLASMAR+ projects.

Aspects / Objectives:

The objective of this paper is to identify the most suitable locations for Offshore Wind Energy using a multi-parameter analysis for the whole of the Canary Islands.

Method:

A method for introducing Offshore Wind Energy into marine space following Maritime Spatial Planning principles was developed taking into consideration the five clusters: oceanographic potential; environmental sensibility; restrictions related to marine conservation; Land–Sea interactions; and avoiding potential conflict with current maritime and coastal activities. A new Decision Support System (DSS) tool, INDIMAR, designed by the ECOAQUA Institute as a Geographical Information System (GIS) web application, was also used to collect data.

Main Outputs / Results:

OWE development needs to find a balance between all five clusters reflecting on Ecosystem-Based Management components that should be mirrored in the Maritime Spatial Planning (MSP) strategy, including options with trade-offs among sectorial growth, conflict prevention and environmental protection & conservation.

Transferability:

Although the study was developed for the Canary Islands, the method can be used as an example in order to integrate OWF into sea space using MSP principles.

Costs / Funding Source:

This work was partially funded by the project PLASMAR (MAC/1.1a/ 030) and finalised with project PLASMAR+(MAC2/1.1a/347) with the support of the European Union (EU), and co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the INTERREG V-A Spain- Portugal MAC 2014–2020 (Madeira-Azores-Canarias).

Contact person:

Corresponding author.

E-mail address: abramic@vik-ing.eu (A. Abramic).