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Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Offshore Energy System Integration in the North Sea: A Systematic Literature Review


To facilitate the rapid and large-scale developments of offshore wind energy, scholars, policymakers and infrastructure developers must start considering its integration into the larger onshore energy system. Such offshore system integration is defined as the coordinated approach to planning and operation of energy generation, transport and storage in the offshore energy system, across multiple energy carriers and sectors. This article conducts a systematic literature review to identify infrastructure components of offshore energy system integration (including alternative cable connections, offshore energy storage, and power-to-hydrogen applications) and barriers to their development. An interdisciplinary perspective is provided where current offshore developments require not only mature and economically feasible technologies, but equally strong legal and governance frameworks. The findings demonstrate that current literature lacks a holistic perspective on the offshore energy system. To date, techno-economic assessments solving challenges of specific infrastructure components prevail over an integrated approach. Nevertheless, permitting issues, gaps in legal frameworks, strict safety and environmental regulations, and spatial competition also emerge as important barriers. Overall, this literature review emphasizes the necessity of aligning various disciplines to provide a fundamental approach for the development of an integrated offshore energy system. More specifically, timely policy and legal developments are key to incentivize technical development and enable economic feasibility of novel components of offshore system integration. Accordingly, to maximize real-world application and policy learning, future research will benefit from an interdisciplinary perspective.

Funding source: This work was supported by DOSTA with project number (WIND.2019.002) of the NWO research programme PhD@Sea that is (partly) financed by the Dutch Research Council (NWO).
Related subjects: Applications & Pathways
Countries: Netherlands

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