Routing Subsea Cables for Scottish Offshore Renewable Search Areas
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The UK has been the leading nation in offshore renewable energy generation since 2010 (Kern et. al., 2014), due to its substantial resources, technical expertise and strong economic and political support (Jay, 2011). Many of the resources remain as yet undeveloped. One significant barrier to the progression of offshore renewable energy is the lack of a coordinated electricity transmission system, both on and offshore (Marine Scotland, pers. comm.). This study suggests a number of environmentally-friendly subsea cable routes around Scotland by preparing a GIS cost surface with ecologically-valued predicted habitats and masked-out obstacles and sensitive species, and compares these paths with routes proposed by other organisations, discussing the difficulties involved in this process. The suggested paths are then ranked in terms of costs and benefits, and their relative merits are discussed.