Each of the areas earmarked for an offshore wind farm (OWF) project in the national Maritime Spatial Plans is characterised by a certain area size, distance from the shore, fishing intensity or specific environmental conditions. These aspects, as well as many other variables, greatly influence the cost and difficulty of the project.

In order to assist the client in making key investment decisions, Ambiens offers Site Assessment – a multi-criteria evaluation of areas for an OWF, taking into account the characteristics of individual areas and the client’s priorities. We use a methodology we have developed to identify the most attractive areas for the Client. In the Site Assessment process, a dozen or so factors are assessed, which determine the variation in costs and difficulty of installation and construction works depending on the location of the basin. When making the assessment, we take care to assign each parameter an appropriate point weight that reflects the client’s requirements, which we discuss in detail in workshops and consultations. The analyses take into account environmental factors, technological and logistical aspects, but also issues relating to potential cumulative and transboundary impacts. As part of the analyses, we use, among other things, numerous databases of publicly available data, knowledge from scientific publications and EIA reports prepared for previous offshore wind farm projects in the Baltic Sea.

The client, for whom the Site Assessment is performed, receives a comprehensive report, which presents the methodology of the analyses, a description of the environment of the areas selected by the client, together with an assessment of the parameters and their impact on the cost and implementation of the investment. In addition, the final product is complemented by spatial visualisation of the analysed parameters, performed by specialists in GIS software, which results in map annexes fully accessible to the client. The products of our analyses can also be used at further stages of work, e.g. for the preparation of the Seabed Permit Application, Project Information Sheet, EIA Report, or for due diligence during acquisitions and strategic partnership processes.

Our experience to date in this field includes the completion of Site Assessments for, among others, all eleven water bodies designated in Annex 2 of the Offshore Act in Poland. However, the Ambiens team consists of specialists with the necessary experience and knowledge to carry out a Site Assessment for selected basins in the entire Baltic Sea region. In order to ensure the appropriate level of content of the offered product, we are constantly developing the collection of databases on the marine environment that we use, and we keep abreast of the publication of articles addressing key environmental issues and EIA Reports for foreign OWFs. We are also fully open to cooperation with Partners, local scientists and specialists who are well acquainted with the abiotic and biotic environment in the areas under study.

According to the latest Polish Wind Energy Association’s 2022 report on offshore wind energy potential in Poland, up to 20 new areas in Poland may be designated for OWF development in the near future. We are also aware of the progressive development of offshore wind energy in the other Baltic countries, which is expressed in the Maritime Spatial Plans there. In fact, in the documents currently in force, 24 sites have been designated for the construction of offshore wind farms in Denmark (of which 3 have been designated for renewable energy and the construction of energy islands), 4 sites in Germany, 14 sites in Sweden, 15 sites in Finland, 6 sites in the Åland, 17 sites in Estonia (4 of these areas have been designated in the Maritime Spatial Plan of the Pärnu county), 5 sites in Latvia, and 4 sites in Lithuania (Figure 1). With such a large number of new sites in the Baltic Sea, Ambiens’ analytical and customized approach to site selection for offshore wind farms is crucial, taking into account the many different aspects that can significantly affect the efficiency of site acquisition and the cost and schedule of the investment.

Location of the areas planned for the OWF designated in the current Maritime Spatial Plans and the areas where the OWF projects implemented or awarded for implementation in the Baltic Sea region are located*
*Vector layers were downloaded or created from:
1)     https://basemaps.helcom.fi/ (Accessed: 05.01.2023),
2)     https://www.emodnet-humanactivities.eu/search-results.php?dataname=Wind+Farms+%28Points%29 (Last data update: 24.03.2022),
3)     https://www.emodnet-humanactivities.eu/search-results.php?dataname=Wind+Farms+%28Polygons%29 (Last data update: 24.03.2022),
4)     https://www.emodnet-humanactivities.eu/search-results.php?dataname=Maritime+Spatial+Planning+%28MSP%29 (Last data update: 29.09.2022),
5)     https://kort.msdi.dk/spatialmap?profile=dmd (Accessed: 09.01.2023),
6)     https://map.4coffshore.com/offshorewind/ (Accessed: 09.01.2023),
7)     https://mereala.hendrikson.ee/kaardirakendus-en.html (Accessed: 09.01.2023),
8)     https://mspfinland.maps.arcgis.com/apps/webappviewer/index.html?id=97f9d24e2771487995a7cc41fdca11c4 (Accessed: 09.01.2023).