European oceans will be subject to massive development of marine infrastructure in the near future. The most obvious is the energy facilities e.g. offshore wind farms, exploitation of wave energy, expansion of electricity connections, and also further development and implementation of marine aquaculture. This will also lead to an increased need for marine infrastructure to support installation and the on-going operation of the facilities. However both economical costs and environmental impact have to be reduced in order to increase the feasibility of the use of ocean space.
Marine structures for offshore wind farms and aquaculture have to be installed at various sites and on much larger scale than earlier implementation of offshore structures in order to fulfil EU strategies (1) for reduction of fossil-based energy and (2) to become a major player in sustainable aquaculture. However the feasibility is much more sensitive to the costs of structures and the installation of the structures than for instance Oil & Gas facilities.
Novel innovative design concepts should address different physical conditions in order to make the best use of the ocean space. Going from deep water (north of Spain) to shallow water with high morphological activity (the Wadden sea) and further to inner waters like the inner Danish/Baltic areas and the Adriatic sea changes the focus from a strong physical aspect to environmental impact. This will make it possible to develop, test and integrate different technologies but also to address site specific challenges.
Both for offshore renewables and for aquaculture a substantial part of the costs is variable cost related to operations and maintenance of the plants. It is obvious that optimization of the use of ocean space for different purposes might benefit from shared resources such staff allocation, transportation of staff and material from and to the platforms, use of forecasting systems, ships etc.