The region of Galicia, in the northwest of the Iberian Peninsula, has a high wind potential for the installation of offshore wind farms (OWFs) in many areas of its surrounding marine waters. However, legal restrictions derived from the protection of other interests that converge in the marine environment (such as fishing, navigation, and biodiversity conservation) must be considered, along with technical limitations resulting from water depth. This study is aimed at analysing legal restrictions on the installation of OWFs in Galician waters and at identifying those zones of less conflict where the wind power density (WPD) is greater and the depths and distances from the coast are technically feasible given the current status of technology in Europe. To do this, a legal study was performed of both the strategic environmental assessment of the Spanish coast and the regulations of the different marine sectors at European, international, national, and regional levels. In addition, the WPD along the north-western area of the Iberian Peninsula and Europe was calculated, and an analysis of maximum and average depths and distances from the coast of planned and installed OWFs in Europe was made. Two main zones without legal and technical restrictions were identified in the north-eastern corner of Galicia and in the south of the Vigo estuary. The greatest WPD was identified in the north-western zone, from Cape Finisterre to Cape Ortegal, where there are small sites without legal or technical restrictions that are near several protected zones (such as a marine reserve, a special protected area, and a wetland and its buffer zone), making necessary a deeper analysis of the specific impacts of each OWF project in the Environmental Impact Assessment.
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