A report from the DNV Group warns that the amount of ocean space occupied by offshore installations will grow fivefold by 2050, driven primarily by the rapid expansion of offshore wind and aquaculture projects.
The class society’s Spatial Competition Forecast claims that offshore wind will account for 80% of stationary infrastructure by mid-century, followed by aquaculture (13%) and oil and gas (5%). Installations for offshore energy and food production will cover 23% of the area 2-50km from shore, in water depths less than 50m, the report adds. Globally, ocean installations will come to cover 335,000km2 by 2050, a spread larger than the land mass of Poland.
Bente Pretlove, ocean space programme director at DNV, says: “The ocean is crucial for the production of sustainable food and energy, but we must tread carefully as many ocean ecosystems are already under huge stress. This report underscores the urgent need to balance protection, productivity and social development objectives. Coexistence is essential for the sustainable growth of the Blue Economy.”
DNV recently received a NOK8.8 million (US$840,000) grant from the Research Council of Norway to develop the MARine CO-existence (MARCO) scenario building project. MARCO aims to establish “a common knowledge basis among ocean stakeholders”, enabling them to identify synergies and resolve conflicts, all while safeguarding ocean health, DNV says. Project partners so far include the Norwegian Fishermen’s Association, SalMar Aker Ocean, the Norwegian Institute of Marine Research and Mainstream Renewable Power.