Emodnet-Arctic

Wind farm sitings

Quick links to:

The objective of the Wind Farm Siting Challenge is to find economically viable areas for Offshore Wind Development (OWE) development with little impact on both the ecosystem and other human activities, in the Norwegian Sea and Barents Sea.

  • The Offshore Wind Development should be economically viable.
    For the purpose of the Arctic Ocean Checkpoint project we have translated this into the identification of the area that best fits this aim.
    This forms the first part of our assessment: determining where the best chances to develop offshore wind lie.
  • The Offshore Wind Development should have little impact on other uses – including the ecosystem - of the proposed area.
    This forms the second part of our assessment: removing from the identified technical area of the first assessment those parts that are too important for other activities at sea and should better be left available to them.

Lessons learned from the 1st Wind Farm Siting Challenge
The end results as presented show that with the available data an adequate assessment can be made on the potential development of offshore wind parks in the Norwegian Sea and Barents Sea.

For the next round of assessments, a smaller and more detailed block size for the OWE-analysis could be used. This could result in less area being lost to other uses and/or ecosystem concerns. The wind resource data was not decisive for the development and need not govern the geographical accuracy.

Also now that the three most promising areas are known, the possibility exists that better datasets can be uncovered. Datasets that do not cover all of the original study areas but do cover at least one or two can be used as well, although preferably all three of them are included.

Offshore development of wind energy in this region will have to rely on floating turbine technology. This technology may need several more years to mature sufficiently for deployment in Arctic and sub-Arctic waters. For an in-depth assessment of the economics of an offshore wind farm the technology choices regarding moorings, also in relation to geophysical conditions on and in the seabed will be needed.

The datasets that were used are available on the internet, but the ease with which they can be found leaves ample room for improvement. Discoverability is often times low.

Result summary of the 1st Wind Farm Siting Challenge

Fixed wind turbines
From a technical OWE development area for fixed offshore wind turbines, originally consisting of 13 blocks spread out along the Norwegian coast, none remain after taking other sea uses into account. Most are lost to both shipping and marine protected areas.

Floating wind turbines
From a technical area of originally 290 blocks, 124 blocks remain after taking other sea uses into account. Six of those are in the Russian part of the Barents Sea (ICES area Ib), on the Murman Rise. The remainder is in Norwegian waters (ICES area IIa2), mostly around the Lofoten and Tromsø. West of Trondheim the combination of other sea uses results in only a few remaining OWE blocks.

The remaining blocks are shown in Figure 1. The main characteristics of these areas are summarised in Table 2.

ICES area No. OWE blocks Mean distance to port (km) Mean water depth (m) Mean wind speed (m/s) Area (km2)
Ib 6 238 179 8.2 1553
IIa2 118 203 272 8.4 29969


Map area wind energy parks figure 1
Figure 1 Map showing the area with potential for developing (floating) offshore wind energy parks in the Norwegian Sea and Barents Sea, based on the first round of assessments within ‘SeaBasin Checkpoints – lot Arctic’. Also shown are human settlements that may play a role in this development.

For the most part the Arctic Checkpoint – Wind Farm Siting has sourced its datasets from sources outside EMODnet. This is mostly due to the fact that the study area is located outside the focal area of EMODnet and thus is not covered. This situation may change in future as the Arctic has been recognised as an area where more attention from the European Union and therefore also from EMODnet is warranted. The main dataset for this challenge being the wind resource was available from Copernicus and thus from an EU-related source.

Two ecosystem-related data layers, that were included in the plans, have been left open. No datasets where found that could be used as a reliable basis for 1) bird migration routes and 2) sea mammal migration routes. This should be labelled as an identified data gap. It is however not necessarily a data gap that is specific to the Arctic. Such maps/datasets would also not be available for e.g. the North Sea.

Total hours spent on Phase I of the Wind Farm Siting Challenge: 69.

More details on the approach and detailed results can be found here:



References and Links: