Land-use conflicts, along with the increasing demand for green energy and the unexploited offshore wind potential, intensify the necessity of the development of Offshore Wind Farms (OWFs). Their sustainable siting remains still a research gap to be further analysed due to: (i) the need of the insular energy self-efficiency; the great distances from the mainland); (ii) the freeing of land; and (iii) the high unexploited offshore wind potential.
The Analytical Hierarchy Process method and Geographic Information Systems incorporating 14 exclusion and 16 evaluation criteria are employed tο identify sustainable siting. This research integrates the opinions of a wide range of local stakeholders and experts, considering the insular specific characteristics of Crete. The high suitable marine areas are evaluated according to their energy capacity, assessed with seven different commercially available models.
Most respondents estimate that the distance from environmental interest areas is the most critical criterion. The analysis proved that the final available areas for OWFs siting are 205.5 km2; 126.25 km2 of high suitability with a high potential of 620–900 MW. Since the maximum annual energy demand of the island amounted to 676 MW (2019) this demand could actually be overcovered by four main OWFs near the island.