Offshore wind energy (OWE) in the North Sea has the potential to meet large share of Europe’s future electricity demand. To deploy offshore wind parks in a rational way, the overall OWE potential has to be realistically determined. This has to be done on an international, cross-border level and by taking into account the existing man-made and nature-related uses of the North Sea. As spatial conflicts will arise between existing uses and the new OWE uses, a Decision Support System (DSS) based on a Geographic Information System (GIS) was developed. Based on data of existing sea uses and calculation rules for spatial prioritisation analysis, the DSS helps in identifying areas that are (1) generally suitable for offshore wind power, (2) strictly excluded or (3) negotiable with respect to other existing sea uses. The combination of this conflict analysis together with cost assumptions for offshore wind farms and their expected electricity yield leads to identification of favourable areas for OWE deployment in the North Sea. This approach helps to reduce the conflict between offshore wind deployment and existing sea uses in the North Sea for future planning. The results can assist decision makers in developing transnational roadmaps for OWE.
Schillings, C., Wanderer, T., Cameron, L., van der Wal, J. T., Jacquemin, J., & Veum, K. (2012). A decision support system for assessing offshore wind energy potential in the North Sea. Energy Policy, 49, 541-551. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.enpol.2012.06.056