EGU General Assembly 2020
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Geological data incorporation into an opportunities model for Irish offshore wind energy to inform engineering considerations and habitat change potential

Jared Peters1,2, Ross O’Connell2, Andrew Wheeler1,3, Valerie Cummins1,2, and Jimmy Murphy2
Jared Peters et al.
  • 1School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences, University College Cork, Cork, Ireland (
  • 2Environmental Research Institute, MaREI Research Centre for Energy, Climate and Marine, University College Cork, Cork, T23 XE10, Ireland
  • 3Irish Centre for Research in Applied Geosciences, University College Cork, Ireland

The implications of climate change are becoming harder to ignore and highlight the need for increased renewable energy production.  Simultaneously, technological developments like larger turbines and floating foundations are improving our ability to harvest offshore wind energy as a renewable resource.  However, despite having an abundant offshore wind energy resource, Ireland is falling behind on its remit to reduce its carbon emissions as part of the European Union’s targets outlined by the 2030 Climate and Energy Framework.  Reducing this inaction is critically important and improvements to Irish renewable energy planning could also be adapted to other locations.  Here we present spatial data rasters created largely from public datasets that have been designed to improve initial planning and opportunities assessments for Irish offshore wind development.  These rasters include information on surficial sediment types, geomorphology, and slope, which are typically not included in preliminary offshore renewable energy assessments despite their importance to turbine foundation designs, scour protection measures, and cable routes.  Furthermore, these rasters allow fundamental predictions on potential benthic habitat changes to be included into site selection models, which could help avoid economically and/or environmentally costly development decisions.  We examine potential uses for these rasters within a multi-criteria decision analysis and discuss the implications of incorporating such geological data during early investigations. 

How to cite: Peters, J., O’Connell, R., Wheeler, A., Cummins, V., and Murphy, J.: Geological data incorporation into an opportunities model for Irish offshore wind energy to inform engineering considerations and habitat change potential, EGU General Assembly 2020, Online, 4–8 May 2020, EGU2020-8658,, 2020

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Presentation version 1 – uploaded on 01 May 2020
  • CC1: Comment on EGU2020-8658, Matt Lewis, 05 May 2020

    Really good to see wuch a concept being applied in decision making / site choice. Did you apply this analysis to both floating wind and fixed offshore wind please? And do you expect the result to differ for these two technologies?

    • AC1: Reply to CC1, Jared Peters, 05 May 2020

      Thanks for the comment Matt.  We are using this seabed model as part of a larger MCDA that examines opportunities for both floating and fixed bottom technologies.  The principal constraint difference is the water depth, so in the larger GIS model, we have added the ability to weight the bathymetric parameter(s) differently to reflect the hypothetical intentions of a developer.  The results will differ quite a bit for seabed stability, due to the typical correlations with deeper water and less terrestrial sediment influx and less tidal/wave energy.