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Establishing environmentally compatible wind energy potential in Europe - Malta Case Study - for: Malta Resources Authority by: Antoine Riolo Chief Executive.

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Presentation on theme: "Establishing environmentally compatible wind energy potential in Europe - Malta Case Study - for: Malta Resources Authority by: Antoine Riolo Chief Executive."— Presentation transcript:

1 Establishing environmentally compatible wind energy potential in Europe - Malta Case Study - for: Malta Resources Authority by: Antoine Riolo Chief Executive Officer 9 th November 2006

2 Page 1 Introduction Large scale wind is by far the only RES technology that can make a significant impact to the Maltese energy economy, followed by energy from waste. Incentives to adopt RES are: Diversification of our fuel mix; Environmental improvement on the local scale and a moral contribution to international efforts. Conditions are very difficult, both for onshore and offshore wind exploitation.

3 Page 2 To outline the work carried out in Malta to determine onshore and offshore wind potential on an island specific basis; To consider the applicability to Malta as a small island state of the proposed EEA methodology for estimating wind energy potential. Objectives of the Presentation

4 Page 3 Physical characteristics of the Maltese Islands Maltese Archipelago - Malta, Gozo & other small uninhabited islands ; Area: 316 km 2 ; Population: 400,000; Large perimeter relative to surface area (Malta 136km, Gozo 43km); Urban area: (23 %) distributed amongst some 65 towns and villages; Corine 2000 Landcover of Malta

5 Page 4 Population density of Malta Malta - 1,261 inhabitants / km 2 EU Average- 115 inhabitants / km 2 Next highest (Netherlands) - 395 inhabitants / km 2 Also relevant to wind-energy potential is the relative disproportionate size and impact of certain national critical infrastructure, more so in view of Maltas strategic position e.g. 2 major harbours including a major transhipment terminal; an international airport; communications facilities. Other important characteristics

6 Page 5 Large scale wind Onshore wind potential and possibilities

7 Page 6 Determining potential An island-specific approach: Bottom-up approach – identification of sites with wind energy potential (wind speeds and elevation) and then considering site specific constraints; In contrast to the Top down approach - EEA Approach adopted: Consultation with key stakeholders: Department of Civil Aviation; Malta International Airport; Malta Air Traffic Services Ltd.; Malta Tourism Authority; Enemalta Corporation.

8 Page 7 A bottom up approach – Mapping unconstrained potential onshore sites (1)

9 Page 8 A bottom up approach – Mapping unconstrained potential onshore sites (2) Unconstrained wind potential defined as unconstrained availability of wind resource combined with unconstrained sites, e.g. wind and areas of exposed ground for wind generation

10 Page 9 Constrained wind potential issues considered with respect to each specified site: Lack of access: serious barriers in Qasam San Gorg, Gozo. Airport interference analysis: excludes Hal Far Airfield and Gebel Ciantar; Ghemieri and Wardija Ridge highly compromised; possible impacts at Bajda Ridge, Marfa Ridge, Ta Hammud and Qasam San Gorg; Ecology and landscape Impacts: Least compromised sites: Ta Hammud, Marfa Ridge, Bajda Ridge Maximum capacity at sites likely to be reduced by planning constraints, ecological value and landscape sensitivity; Bajda Ridge limited by bird sanctuaries; Marfa Ridge surrounded by various grades of designated landscape. Visual Impacts: In view of characteristics of Maltese landscape and scale of development – visual impacts can be significant and likely to limit number of windfarms. A bottom up approach – Wind resource characterisation

11 Page 10 Areas of zero potential include: Surface water bodies; Infrastructures (roads); Touristic sites; Military areas; Woodland/ forests; Water bodies; Natura 2000 sites; Important bird areas. Other areas to consider as discuss: airport plus buffer; urban areas plus their buffer. Mapping areas of zero potential

12 Page 11 Areas of zero potential: Aviation Buffer zone around airport proposed at minimum of 4km from the aerodrome reference point Based on wind turbine size of 1 MW/ (Hub height = 60m; Total height = 90m); Based on ICAO requirements for physical obstacle limitation namely those included with ICAO Annex 14 Vol 1: Aerodromes – Chapter 4 (Obstacle Control and Removal); Potential effects on aerodrome and/or navigation instrumentation and radar coverage; Buffer of 2.5 km proposed by EEA is not considered sufficient; Impact on total area of the country is as on the table below. Of course other considerations overlap. Area – km 2 % of total area of Malta Airport3.791.2 % Airport + 2.5 km buffer50.7416.1 % Airport + 4 km buffer85.3627.0 %

13 Page 12 Urban Areas The potential is considered in terms of the urban area plus a buffer for visibility; The width of the buffer is conditioned by visibility; Note re visibility constraints in Malta: The Maltese archipelago is very small- area 316 km 2. Best sites in terms of wind speeds and elevations are located in sensitive landscape areas. The landscape is open with little tree cover affording long distance views. Skyline dominated by the copulas of churches and historic buildings. Tallest building rises some 70m from the ground and may be seen from any panoramic location within Malta and from high points in Gozo. Weather in Malta characterised by high number of days with very good visibility and very good natural light. A combination of all these factors suggests that large onshore wind farm development likely to have a significant visual impact and likely to be prominent from a large number of areas.

14 Page 13 Characteristics of urban areas in Malta Area – km 2 % of total area of Malta Estimated urban area73.623.3 % Estimated urban area + 1 km buffer254.880.6 % Estimated urban area + 2 km buffer302.695.8 % Estimated urban area + 3 km buffer (2) 313.999.3 % Notes: (1) Urban areas includes green urban areas (0.5%), urban fabric (22.2%), sports and leisure facilities (0.6%); (2) From the remainder - 1.4 km 2 equivalent to 0.4 % of the total area is part of Comino – an environmentally sensitive area.

15 Page 14 Visual impacts Taking into account research undertaken by Scottish Executive in the UK on the effect of distance on the perception of wind energy developments in open landscape: Up to 2 km: likely to be prominent feature; 2 - 5 km:relatively prominent; 5 – 15 km: only prominent in clear visibility – seen as part of wider landscape; 15 – 30 km: only seen in clear visibility – a minor element in the landscape; (Source Planning Advice Note (PAN ) 45 – Renewable Energy Technologies) Buffer zone around urban areas proposed at minimum of 2km. With no large-scale exploitation considering the high population density and size of island, taken together

16 Page 15 Other issues For completeness, other issues are: Industrial areas Industrial areas are generally located on the peripheral or part of urban areas. Since these are an extension of main urban areas, and in view of limited land availability in Malta within such areas, they are included with urban areas. Touristic sites: A minimum 2000 m buffer zone for touristic areas should be considered as for urban areas due to visibility considerations. Mining sites: Extraction of minerals is carried out by open pit quarrying. Due to physical limitations it is highly unlikely that such quarries (with the exception of shallow disused quarries) offer suitable potential for siting windfarm development. Dump sites: Disused dump sites offer limited scope for hosting wind development in view of visibility issues as well as physical limitation including structural integrity considerations of the sites.

17 Page 16 Other concerns and issues Agriculture – arable land, fruit tress, olive trees, vineyards Due to high competing pressures for available land resources agricultural land is of strategic value. Thus feasible average % of maximum potential may be significantly less in such circumstances. Forests: Woodland have a strategic and significant environmental value and would similarly pose serious constraints (0%) to wind development. Semi natural grassland: Garigue, phyragana, Mediterranean xeric areas and grasslands are very rich species in a Maltese context are protected under the Habitats Directive. The wind energy potential is highly dependent on the habitat type and species richness of the particular locality. Important bird areas: Depends on the type of birds involved for ex. lighting and noise associated with wind turbines may affect seabirds in coastal important bird areas.

18 Page 17 Mapping of potential areas taking into account local visual (2km buffer around urban areas) and aviation concerns (4km buffer)

19 Page 18 Integrating potential sites and all constraints

20 Page 19 Large scale wind Offshore wind potential, possibilities and constraints

21 Page 20 Offshore wind (near shore) Given the constraints hindering onshore wind development, the Government decided to investigate the potential of off-shore wind. Current proven offshore technology is limited to 30 meters depth. This contour in Maltese waters lies within a 4-km coastal band and most of it lies very close to the shoreline. This makes this type of development difficult. Economic constraints : tourism, bunkering activities, inland maritime traffic; Infrastructural constraints: approaches to harbours, airport, interference with radar and communications; Environmental constraints: reefs, bird rafting, posedonia beds. It was therefore decided to investigate the possibilities offered by deepwater off-shore wind. This presupposes connection to the European electricity network, which is a parallel project.

22 Page 21 Bathymetry of Malta

23 Page 22 Call for EOI for Offshore Windfarm Development Detailed assessment carried out in preparation for a Call for EOI for offshore windfarm development within Maltese territorial waters; Extensive consultation carried out with key Government entities and authorities: Aviation: Department of Civil Aviation, Malta International Airport, Malta Air Traffic Services Ltd.; Maritime: Malta Maritime Authority; Environment: Malta Environment & Planning Authority; Tourism: Malta Tourism Authority; Fisheries: Fisheries Conservation and Control Division; Military: Armed Forces of Malta; Communications: Malta Communications Authority.

24 Page 23 Categorisation of Offshore areas 3 categories of zones/areas identified: No Go areas; Sensitive zones; Other areas. No Go areas established in view of the unacceptable impacts or risks associated included: the harbour approaches and shipping lanes including areas of heavy maritime traffic, waiting areas identified as important for coastal navigation and the Gozo Channel; approaches to airport runways and areas identified as posing unacceptable impact on aviation or radar operations; marine protection areas, nature reserves (area in the vicinity of Filfla), areas of environmental significance – (selected areas where seabed is colonised by posidonia oceanica meadows); areas marked for military purposes including firing practices areas or those previously used as explosives dumping grounds; areas identified as important from a tourism perspective e.g. diving sites, wrecks etc. Includes Sikka l-Bajda and an area around the coast and extending up to 3 km seawards.

25 Page 24 Sensitive Zones (1) Areas identified as being potentially restricted to windfarm development in view of serious conflicts with important key economic activities or due to possible adverse negative impacts arising from any such development. The level of such impacts and risks would have to be determined at an early stage and included: areas identified by the Civil Aviation Department as potentially affecting the performance of VOR coverage. areas identified by the Malta Maritime Authority as posing possible unacceptable impacts on navigation, bunkering or other related activities. areas which if developed may result in other unacceptable impacts or such as impacts on tourist-related activities.

26 Page 25 Areas identified by MEPA as important from an environmental perspective (e.g. rafting zones for particular protected bird species; maerl beds and other ecological concerns; submerged wrecks and archaeological features; visual concern and landscape value. Areas identified by the Malta Communications Authority as possibly posing unacceptable impacts on telecommunications. the areas (130 sites) established as dolphin fish distribution in accordance with EU Council Regulation 813/2004 and areas established as trawlable areas around the Maltese coast, aquaculture installations. Sensitive Zones (2)

27 Page 26 Other Areas Other areas which were not included in the no go areas or the sensitive areas were prima facie considered as areas which are available for offshore wind development subject to normal environmental impact assessment and other studies in accordance with the Environmental Impact Assessment Regulations.

28 Page 27 No Go Areas (integrated)

29 Page 28 Stakeholder specific no go and sensitive areas - Aviation – (1) – (Total WTG height = 144 m)

30 Page 29 Stakeholder specific no go and sensitive areas - Aviation – (2) - (Total WTG height = 183 m)

31 Page 30 Stakeholder specific no go and sensitive areas - Maritime navigation, bunkering & related activities

32 Page 31 Stakeholder specific no go and sensitive areas - Fishing

33 Page 32 Stakeholder specific no go and sensitive areas - Environment

34 Page 33 Stakeholder specific no go and sensitive areas - Tourism

35 Page 34 Stakeholder specific no go and sensitive areas - Communications

36 Page 35 Stakeholder specific no go and sensitive areas - Military

37 Thank you for your attention

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