1st Wind Farm Siting Challenge - Assessment part 2
The second step of the assessment is to exclude those areas where an impact on the ecosystem or other uses of the sea area can be expected from the technical and economic potential determined in the first step. For this study four marine uses have been considered:
- Fisheries, using a dataset generated for OSPAR by ICES Working Group on Spatial Fisheries Distributions (WGSFD). Data included information on the surface interaction of mobile bottom-touching fishing gears (Swept Area Ration or SAR). Fishing activities do not combine well with offshore wind turbines as the fishing gear may cause damage to electricity or mooring cables, and the presences of wind turbines may also pose a danger to the fishing vessel and its crew. However, other types of fishery can be performed within an OWF, e.g. angling and other passive gears.
- Shipping, using a dataset provided by Halpern et al. (2015). The dataset has global cover, is in high detail (ca. 1 x 1 km) and of a recent year (2013).
- Marine Protected Areas, to respect nature conservation areas the MPA-database that was assembled for the MPA Challenge was re-used. For the Wind Farm Siting it was augmented with a few Norwegian MPA that were not included in the original dataset (too far south), but were relevant at this point. The MPA-database relies heavily on the WDPA, but many other (national) sources were reviewed, leading to a few dozen additions across the whole Arctic.
The current assessment for potential OWE sites was based on known protected locations within our current vision because assessing every location in the wealth of detailed data available, especially for Norwegian waters, was beyond the scope of this project.
The MPA-dataset serves here as a proxy to ensure minimal impact on the ecosystem.
- Oil and Gas infrastructure, including pipelines (Norwegian Petroleum Directorate or Oljedirektoratet). These were incorporated using the map services offered by the NPD to see the positions of oil and gas infrastructure (platforms and subsea installations) as well as pipelines.
When implementing each of the three above datasets, suitable cut-off values or choices were required. For the fourth dataset the mere presence of oil and gas infrastructure was seen as sufficient.
For fisheries, the effort within the technical OWE area was considered. Due to a lack of pattern, the final selection was made manually. OWE-blocks with several (five or more) and relatively intense recorded fisheries activities were excluded from the locations selected for potential OWE development. Access to fishing grounds that could become isolated within wind farm areas were also considered. Within the technical OWE area, 75% of the fishing effort was to be respected and this area was excluded from the potential OWE development sites.
For shipping, connectivity and access to ports is vital. Locations with 600 or more ‘vessel movements’ were considered too important for the shipping industry and were therefore excluded from potential OWE sites.
For Marine Protected Areas (nature conservation and general biodiversity considerations), the existing MPA-database was used in combination with a 5 km buffer distance outside. OWE development must therefore be located at least 5 km away from nature conservation areas, as a number of the MPA are also home to bird nesting colonies. Thus ensuring a free corridor in and out of MPAs, unobstructed by wind turbines for foraging and or migrating species.
For Oil and Gas infrastructure, the presence of any infrastructure has led to excluding the blocks from the technical OWE area. The selection had to be made manually as the software did not adequately detect overlap.
Very few OWE-blocks were excluded due to a single obstruction. In most cases shipping obstructions combined with either fishing grounds or areas in or near MPA.
Detailed maps of assessment 2
Figure 1 Combined map showing OWE development potential for (floating) offshore wind turbines in the Norwegian Sea and Barents Sea, as well as dropped area with an indication of the other sea users that were given precedence.
Figure 2 Map showing the available information on fishery effort in the Norwegian Sea and Barents Sea and surrounding areas.
Figure 3 Map showing the available information on shipping in the Norwegian Sea and Barents Sea and surround areas.
Figure 4 Map showing the available information on MPAs in the Norwegian Sea and Barents Sea and surround areas.
Figure 5 Map showing the available information on oil and gas facilities in the Norwegian Sea and Barents Sea and surround areas.