1st Wind Farm Siting Challenge - Assessment part 2

The second step of the assessment is to take away from the technical and economic potential determined in the first step, those areas where an impact on the ecosystem or other uses of the sea area can be expected. For this study four marine uses have been considered:

  • Fisheries, by way of a dataset generated for OSPAR by ICES Working Group on Spatial Fisheries Distributions (WGSFD). What was used it the surface interaction of mobile bottom-touching fishing gears (Swept Area Ration or SAR) , the associated fishing activities do not combine favourably with offshore wind turbines as the fishing gear may cause damage to electricity cables and for floating turbines also with the mooring cables. Such interactions also pose a danger to the fishing vessel and its crew.
    Please observe that other types of fishery can be performed within an OWF, e.g. angling and other passive gears.
  • Shipping, for this a dataset collated and made available by Halpern et al. (2015) was identified and used. It 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 put together for the MPA Challenge was re-used. For the Wind Farm Siting it was augmented with a few Norwegian MPA that were not included (too far south) that were relevant at this point.  The MPA-database relies heavily on the WDPA, but many other (national) sources have been checked. These checks have led to a few dozen additions across the whole Arctic.
    Please note that especially for Norwegian waters a wealth of data (geographically explicit in many cases) is available. But considering each of those and whether that would constitute sufficient cause to not develop OWE would have been too bit a task for the project. A choice was made to base this assessment on known protected locations already within our sights.
    The MPA-dataset serves here as a proxy to ensure little 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 are required. For the fourth dataset oil and gas infrastructure mere presence was seen as sufficient.

For Fisheries the effort within the technical OWE area was considered, due to a lack of pattern, the final choice was made by eye. OWE-blocks having a several (five or more) and fairly intense fisheries hits where deselected for wind farm development. This also considered access to fishing grounds that could become isolated within wind far areas. The result is that 75% of the fishing effort within the technical OWE area has been respected and this area has been subtracted.

For Shipping connectivity and access to ports is vital for its purpose. With a cut-off at 600 (unit!) or more “vessel movements”  the needs for shipping seem to be sufficiently  taken into account. Also since intersected OWE-blocks are fully subtracted from the technical OWE area.

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. So OWE development will stay at least 5 km away from nature conservation areas. A sensible choice as a number of the MPA are also home to bird nesting colonies.

For Oil and Gas infrastructure the presence of any infrastructure has led to subtracting the blocks from the technical OWE area. The selection had to be made by hand as the software did not adequately detect overlap.

Please note that only a very limited number of OWE-blocks have been eliminated due to a single obstruction. In many cases shipping obstructions combine with either fishing grounds or areas in or near MPA.

Detailed maps of assessment 2

Map showing OWE development
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 uses that were given precedence.

Maps for competing uses 1

Figure 2 Map showing the available information on fishery in the Norwegian Sea and Barents Sea and surround areas.

Maps for competing uses 2

Figure 3 Map showing the available information on shipping in the Norwegian Sea and Barents Sea and surround areas.
Maps for competing uses 3

Figure 4 Map showing the available information on MPAs in the Norwegian Sea and Barents Sea and surround areas.

Maps for uses 4

Figure 5 Map showing the available information on oil and gas facilities in the Norwegian Sea and Barents Sea and surround areas.