The North Sea is one of the most used seas worldwide and is home to various functions such as nature, energy, shipping, recreation, and fishing. Due to the expected enormous expansion of offshore wind farms in the coming decades, we will be facing major challenges to achieve an efficient use of space in the North Sea. To ensure the optimum use of the North Sea, recently regulations and frameworks for agreements have been drawn up between governments and stakeholders, like the North Sea Agreement and the National Environmental Vision (NOVI). These schemes aim to promote wind energy generation in combination with other functions that do not compromise the reliability and safety of renewable energy production at sea. In practice, developers of wind farms will then have to meet additional requirements.
Several concepts exist that aim to integrate other functions such as floating solar energy, aquaculture, and passive fishing with offshore wind. Until now, these concepts have been developed as additions to existing offshore wind farm infrastructure. One step further is to fully integrate multiple functions into the early design stages of offshore wind farm developments.
To date, operators have gained little experience in combining functions within their wind farms. Therefore, additional knowledge is needed regarding both the required technological developments and the evolving regulatory framework to stimulate optimal symbiosis between the several sea users and offshore wind farms.
In this project, we will explore the possibilities for technological progress to achieve better symbiosis and well-integrated designs for offshore wind farms. Based on brainstorm sessions, and interviews with various stakeholders, we will assess the integration potential of various functions, such as active nature-inclusive design, aquaculture, and floating solar energy, while considering spatial requirements, technological readiness and potential risks and opportunities. Based on this exploration, we will identify opportunities, bottlenecks and requirements for technological advancement. We will use the findings to develop a roadmap towards future symbiosis included in the design of offshore wind developments.
In parallel, we will assess in cooperation with regulatory bodies how existing requirements in offshore wind energy can influence symbiosis. We will look at various aspects, such as regulations regarding decommissioning, use of space, inclusion of nature and monitoring of ecosystems. In addition, we will explore how future legislation might look like based on the vision of the regulators and of the various users. Based on this exploration, we will highlight the regulatory options that could accelerate symbiosis in offshore wind farms.
Finally, we will work on case studies to explore the potential of at least three possible symbiosis concepts with various levels of integration. The case studies will be based on the research conducted and we will prepare them in close collaboration with all stakeholders. In this way, we build on the identified technological and legislative challenges.
In the Road2SID-project, both industry and research partners will make significant contributions based on their point of view and unique expertise. The various partners of this consortium have a focus on different forms of co-use, resulting in a consortium with broad expertise in the field of symbiosis in offshore wind. We stimulate extensive knowledge exchange between the partners and with the public using different types of work sessions.
The main outcome of this project will be a roadmap with an assessment of symbiosis opportunities taking into account the legal requirements. The roadmap will also outline the technological progress required to realise various types of symbiosis of offshore wind with other functions. The roadmap will describe the different possible levels of integration, ranging from adding multiple functions within a wind farm contour to fully symbiosis-inclusive infrastructure.
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Road2SID Summary (November 2023)
Road2SID Full Report (November 2023)
This project is supported with a subsidy by the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy. Find more project information at the TKI Offshore Energy website.