Carbon Trust drives industry acceptance of new floating LiDAR systems to deliver low-cost bankable wind data

Over the last seven years, floating LiDAR systems have evolved to be a cost-effective and accurate way of providing wind resource assessment measurements. Compared to the state-of-the-art meteorological masts (met mast), floating LiDAR systems offer many benefits including cheaper installation. Savings of up to 90 percent are possible, based on a typical investment of €10m for a met mast. Floating LiDAR is also quicker; both through the planning process (months rather than years) and deployment to the measurement campaign site (hours rather than days). Prior to these trials, the main barrier to wider deployment of floating LiDAR was a lack of validated data showing that these solutions could offer the levels of accuracy required by offshore wind project financiers at a fraction of the cost and deployment time.

Partners from the Carbon Trust’s flagship industry collaborative R&D programme, the Offshore Wind Accelerator funded the validation project in order to bring confidence to the market on the ability of the technology to deliver commercial grade wind speed and direction measurements.

During the four year trial a range of floating LiDAR devices were deployed alongside existing offshore met-masts to enable the comparison of wind speed and direction measurements. Over the course of the campaign five systems were tested at six different sites across Europe:

  • Babcock at Gwynt y Mor;
  • FLiDAR at Gwynt y Mor, Narec (now ORE Catapult Blyth), and Neart na Gaoithe;
  • EOLOS FLS200 at IJmuiden Met Mast;
  • Fugro Oceanor Seawatch Floating LiDAR at East Anglia ONE; and
  • Fraunhofer IWES Wind LiDAR Buoy at FINO1 Met Mast.

Following the trials, many of the devices tested are now being deployed by offshore wind farm developers in commercial campaigns[1], reducing the need for traditional offshore met-masts which will lower pre-development and development costs significantly.

In addition to direct cost reduction, the validation trials also provided valuable hands-on operational experience of the devices for developers and floating LiDAR suppliers to streamline operations and maintenance activities, including improved HSE.

Richard Khaira-Creswell, Senior Measurement Engineer at DONG Energy stated “The Carbon Trust's floating LiDAR trials have been highly valuable to us in DONG Energy. The framework, established by the Carbon Trust, has enabled the development of floating LiDAR concepts - in terms of technical performance, as well as practical issues of safety and reliability. This work has made significant progress towards a mature and robust technology which is accepted across the industry, and will lead directly to reduce the cost of energy.”

Michael Stephenson, Project Manager of OWA Wakes and Wind Resource research at the Carbon Trust added “This project is a further testament to the collaborative approach taken by the offshore wind industry to reduce costs. By supporting floating LiDAR manufacturers in this way, the industry benefits by reducing the risk associated with new innovations as well as gaining hands-on experience of how this technology works.”

Through the process of the trials the systems were validated against the Carbon Trust OWA roadmap for commercial acceptance of floating LiDAR technology which is now the accepted industry standard for commercialisation of systems. To help developers effectively deploy floating LiDAR systems the Carbon Trust also released the OWA Floating LiDAR Recommended Practice last year.  

The Carbon Trust will be presenting lessons learned from the trials at the Offshore Wind Energy 2017 conference in London. The conference is taking place at the Excel Centre from 6-8 June and is jointly organised by RenewableUK and WindEurope.




For further details contact Ainslie MacLeod, Senior PR Manager, the Carbon Trust


Press line: +44 (0) 20 7170 7050

About the Carbon Trust

The Carbon Trust is an independent, expert partner that works with public and private section organizations around the world, helping them to accelerate the move to a sustainable, low carbon economy. We advise corporates and governments on carbon emissions reduction, improving resource efficiency, and technology innovation. We have world-leading experience in the development of low carbon energy markets, including offshore wind.

The Carbon Trust has been at the forefront of the offshore wind industry globally for the past decade, working closely with governments, developers, suppliers, and innovators to reduce the cost of offshore wind energy through informing policy, supporting business decision-making, and commercialising innovative technology.

About the Offshore Wind Accelerator

The OWA programme, originally created in 2008, has been a driving force behind a range of new innovations such as; developing and demonstrating new foundations; the development and adoption of 66kV cabling; improving wind resource measurement and modelling, and new innovative access vessels. Over the last eight years the OWA has delivered over 125 projects, ranging from feasibility studies to multimillion-pound, full-scale technology demonstrations. Today, many of the innovations commercialised through the OWA are being deployed by developers building Round 2 and Round 3 wind farm sites, and are delivering direct cost reductions now.

This project was supported by the following OWA partners: Dong Energy, innogy, Mainstream Renewable Power, Scottish Power Renewables and Statoil, as well as the Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult.

[1] Fugro Oceanor Seawatch Floating LiDAR – Deployed in Borssele I and II Zone by RVO (Netherlands)

FLiDAR – Deployed at Burbo Bank Extension, Walney Extension (UK), Fraunhofer IWES Wind LiDAR Buoy – Deployed at Firth of Forth by Seagreen Wind Energy Ltd. (UK), EOLOS FLS200 – Deployed in St Brieuc offshore wind farm (France)