Competition for space for offshore wind and aquaculture with other sectors and Marine protection IN THE NORWEGIAN ZONE
The coming era for the blue economy will be shaped by humanity’s pressing need for sustainable energy and food, but any industrial expansion must take place in a safe, secure, and equitable manner. This requires careful study of the impact each industry has on its environment and on local communities, considering the cumulative effects from all industries combined. The MARine CO-existence scenario building (MARCO) toolbox will combine spatial and temporal analysis to capture this complexity, and the combined analysis address key uncertainties, barriers, and opportunities to deal with future spatial conflicts and to safeguard ocean health. The spatial analysis will utilise GIS (Geographic Information System) technology for mapping out plausible development trajectories in selected regions to link and explore implications to marine ecosystems and vice versa. The temporal analysis using system dynamics (SD) modelling links economic development with impact on nature through clearly devised causal relationships and feedback loops. To account for the lack of knowledge about key effects on ecosystems from e.g. offshore wind and/or offshore aquaculture development, consideration of uncertainty will be important and will contribute to a reduction of the trust gap among ocean stakeholders. Examples of scenario building and incorporation of ecosystem- wide and socio-economic information will be presented .
The Norwegian Government has recently opened two major areas in the Norwegian zone of the North Sea for offshore wind, Utsira Nord and Sørlige Nordsjø II. (Anon. 2023) Apart from providing more renewable energy, part of the rationale is to gain experience on the environmental impact and possible conflicts and synergies with other sectors. An auction for permits to establish offshore wind parks in this area is presently ongoing (Figure 1).
Even more recently, in April 2022. the Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Directorate has published a list of areas which could be suitable (Figure 1) . However, in these areas, analysis of possible conflicts are probably still premature. The Government upholds a goal of installing 30 GW effect, equivalent to producing 100 TWh/year by 2040 from offshore wind in the Norwegian sector.
Furthermore, the Government has opened three areas for evaluation offshore aquaculture. Here, no auction has yet started, and the areas are to be further evaluated. There are still no plans for multi-use of areas in the Norwegian zone.
An extensive mapping of particularly vulnerable areas is presently ongoing (Eriksen et al. 2021). For instance , coral reefs and sponges has been mapped (Figure 2). Furthermore, data on spawning grounds and migration areas for juvenile fish has been mapped. These data, which are continuously updated, will contribute to the ongoing Marine Spatial Planning.
Anon. 2023. Announces the first competitions for offshore wind . Norwegian Governemt press release https://www.regjeringen.no/no/aktuelt/regjeringen-vil-konsekvensvurdere-omrader-for-havbruk-til-havs/id2947003/
Eriksen E, van der Meeren G., Nilsen B.M. von Quillfeldt C.H., and Johnsen H. 2021. Særlig sårbare områder (SVO) i norske havområder – Miljøverdi. (Particularly vulnerable areas in Norwegian marine waters – Environmental value . In Norwegian). Rapport fra havforskningen 2021-26 ISSN: 1893-4536. 221/32. https://www.hi.no/hi/nettrapporter/rapport-fra-havforskningen-2021-26