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Towards COast to COast NETworks of marine protected areas ( from the shore to the high and deep sea), coupled with sea-based wind energy potential

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Criteria for coastal protection

An EU team has developed a four-step guideline for the selection of marine areas for conservation. The group also assessed Black Sea and Mediterranean coastlines for suitability for offshore wind farming, while assessing likely future wind speed changes.

Climate Change and Environment icon Climate Change and Environment
Food and Natural Resources icon Food and Natural Resources

Sustainable development partly involves the protection of marine systems. Clean energy production, apart from being a goal in itself, will also support the protection of marine natural capital. The EU-funded COCONET (Towards coast to coast networks of marine protected areas (from the shore to the high and deep sea), coupled with sea-based wind energy potential) project prepared guidelines for the assessment of marine areas. COCONET yielded two main results. The group produced a manual detailing the selection guidelines, determined by project researchers, for instigation of a network of marine protected areas (MPAs). The manual elaborates a four-step process for evaluating sites. The steps cover collection of relevant information, identification of cells of ecosystem functioning, identification of networks and priority areas, and designing a management plan. Researchers produced a detailed list of recommendations, drawn from various sciences, concerning selection decision-making. The study also documented gaps in current knowledge. Secondly, the team prepared a Smart Wind Chart displaying the suitability of various coastal areas for offshore wind farms. COCONET focused on the Mediterranean and Black Seas, and supplied the science-based knowledge needed for decision-making. Such information includes predictions of likely wind conditions in various areas over the coming decades. Results indicate that the Aegean and Black Seas will see a 5 % increase in wind power between 2021 and 2050. The Aegean and Alboran Seas should experience a further increase for the period 2061 to 2090. Mediterranean areas off North Africa and the Middle East will suffer a 5 % drop in wind power between 2021 and 2050. Researchers predicted a further decrease in the area for the 2061 to 2090. The project hosted a series of workshops and summer schools, and yielded around 200 scientific publications. COCONET's guidelines and charts will lead to both environmental protection and cleaner energy.


Offshore wind farming, COCONET, marine protected areas, wind energy

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