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Contribution of EMODnet Ocean Energy to Marine Spatial Planning

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Marine spatial planning (MSP) is increasingly being used to map, control and coordinate ocean uses (Huckerby et al., 2016)[1]. According to O’Hagan (2016)[2], the majority of countries which have some form of MSP in place do not reflect ocean energy in terms of either reserved or pre-allocated zones for future ocean energy activity. In other countries such as Denmark, Germany and Sweden, the offshore wind is the only form of marine renewable energy identified, with included and allocated spatial area.

In this sense, European Marine Observation and Data Network (EMODNet) can contribute to Ocean Energy development through a MSP approach, detailing spatial information related to ocean energy, making it accessible to the public and visualizing the coexistence with other marine human activities, as well as the spatial requirements, the technology-specific characteristics, etc.

During the last three years, in the context of EMODnet, information about ocean energy facilities in the EU (projects and test sites) has been continuously updated and shared publicly in a web portal. This information includes resources, relevant infrastructure, together with the respective location.

ocean energy locations

The last update in 2017 has been fed mainly from specific sources such as web pages of the IEA-OES GIS Map of Ocean Energy Installations, the Marine Renewable Energy World Map, the EMEC Orkney and the JRC Annual Status Report of Ocean Energy which were, in turn, updated every year.

In 2017, from the available information on 209 ocean energy projects registered (Figure 1), 47% belong to wave energy, 49% to tidal, 1% to salinity gradient and 6% to offshore wave and wind. In relation to the status, 16% are operational or installed, 31% are completed or decommissioned, 10% are cancelled, suspended or on hold, and 42% are in planning, consented, in development or under construction, which are almost divided in 50:50 tidal and wave resources. In the case of ocean energy test sites, from the available 30 sites included, 18 of them are operational, 11 are in a previous status (in planning, in development or under construction) and 1 was decommissioned, which are almost divided in 37% tidal and 63% wave (included wave/wind) resources.

Complementary to the revision of the information available on mentioned web pages, several contacts were made directly to the person or department in charge of the projects/test sites to ask for their status and additional information. It is important to highlight that in 2017 feedback has been significantly higher than in 2015 (30% and 17%, respectively). In this sense, during the last three years, the helpfulness and interest towards EMODnet-Ocean Energy from the sector has grown. This event may be explained because most of the projects/test sites were finally achieved during this period and EMODnet portal is shown as an important showcase to enhance their visibility.

Do you have new or more accurate data on ocean energy that could improve the available information on the EMODnet Human Activities portal? If you want to share it with us, we kindly invite you to contact us through our website!!

[1] Huckerby, J., Jeffrey, H., de Andres, A. and Finlay, L., 2016. An International Vision for Ocean Energy. Version III. Published by the Ocean Energy Systems Technology Collaboration Programme:

[2] O’Hagan, A.M., 2016. Consenting Processes for Ocean Energy – a Report prepared on behalf of the IEA Technology Collaboration Programme for Ocean Energy Systems (OES); www.ocean-energy-systems.or

The information and views set out in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official opinion of the European Commission. Neither the European Commission nor any person acting on the European Commission's behalf may be held responsible for the use which may be made of the information therein.

October 9th, 2017 | Written by

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