Multi-use offshore platforms (MUPs) combining renewable energy from the sea, aquaculture and transportation facilities can be considered as a challenging way to boost blue growth and make renewable energy (especially wave energy) environmentally and socio-economically sustainable. MUPs allow sharing the financial and other market/non-market costs of installation and management, locally using the produced energy for different functionalities and optimizing marine spatial planning. The design of these solutions is a complex interdisciplinary challenge, involving scientists and technical experts with different backgrounds.
This paper presents a new methodology for the design of a MUP based on technical, environmental, social and economic criteria. The methodology consists of four steps: a pre-screening phase, to assess the feasibility of different maritime uses at the site; a preliminary design of the alternative schemes based on the identified maritime uses; a ranking phase, where the performance of the MUPs is scored by means of expert judgment of the selected criteria; a preliminary design of the selected MUP selected.
An example application of this procedure to a site offshore the Western Sardinia coast, Mediterranean Sea, Italy, is provided. In this site the deployment of a MUP consisting of wave energy converters, offshore wind turbines and aquaculture is specifically investigated.