Articles | Volume 16, issue 1
Special issue:
Short communication
 | Highlight paper
09 Mar 2016
Short communication | Highlight paper |  | 09 Mar 2016

Greening offshore wind with the Smart Wind Chart evaluation tool

Takvor Soukissian, Sofia Reizopoulou, Paraskevi Drakopoulou, Panagiotis Axaopoulos, Flora Karathanasi, Simona Fraschetti, Laura Bray, Federica Foglini, Anastasios Papadopoulos, Francesco De Leo, Chara Kyriakidou, Evangelos Voukouvalas, Evangelos Papathanassiou, and Ferdinando Boero

Abstract. The development of offshore wind farms (OWFs) and the establishment of marine protected areas (MPAs) comprise two main elements for the production of clean energy, and the simultaneous maintenance and protection of biodiversity in the Mediterranean and Black seas. Successful, efficient, and sustainable coupling of these two aspects presumes that the criteria for selecting suitable locations for the deployment of OWFs should not only include technical-engineering terms (e.g. high wind energy efficiency, bottom suitability, inland infrastructures) but also ecological–environmental considerations (e.g. the least possible impact on biodiversity, ecosystem functioning) and socio-economic aspects (e.g. effects on coastal and marine activities, development of marine spatial planning). In the context of the FP7 CoCoNet project, the integration between OWFs and MPAs is based on four main steps: (i) the identification of existing (networks of) MPAs focusing on the biodiversity distribution patterns and current legislation, (ii) the coupling of offshore wind potential within networks of MPAs, (iii) the evaluation of the knowledge gained up to date and the theoretical approaches at the two pilot sites of the Mediterranean and Black sea basins, and (iv) the development of the "Smart Wind Chart", a convenient and rational tool addressed to scientists and policy makers for the evaluation of maritime policy management schemes. The latter step comprises the core of this work.

Short summary
The identification of potential zones for offshore wind farm development is a delicate and multifaceted procedure. For this aim, a holistic approach has been adopted integrating technical and environmental criteria related to the offshore wind energy exploitation. The integration is made feasible through the Smart Wind Chart that aims to maintain and secure the sustainable blue growth in the Mediterranean Sea through the support of offshore wind energy projects and marine habitat conservation.
Special issue