Offshore Wind Accelerator launches world’s largest and most challenging validation trials of floating offshore wind measurement devices

Up to five different offshore wind measurement devices will be subjected to an extensive testing and validation against the state-of-the-art meteorological masts at three North Sea Round 3 sites. This campaign is the latest project from the Offshore Wind Accelerator (OWA), the Carbon Trust's flagship industry collaborative RD&D programme, and is expected to be completed by the end of 2015.

OWA partners RWE, Mainstream Renewable Power (Mainstream) and ScottishPower Renewables (SPR) have made their North Sea offshore sites, IJmuiden, Neart na Gaoithe and East Anglia respectively, available to suppliers of floating offshore wind measurement devices for testing and validation of measurement data. As part of the campaign, the floating LiDAR suppliers will receive access to the site location, data from the meteorological mast, in addition to an analysis of the floating LiDAR captured data in comparison to the met masts by an independent third party according to the OWA Roadmap for commercial acceptance of floating LiDAR technologies (OWA Floating LiDAR Roadmap).

Conventional practice is to install a fixed meteorological mast for approximately each GW of turbines installed. Floating LiDAR units can be purchased for as little as 1-2m Euros whereas a fixed meteorological mast can cost up to 13m Euros in a far shore and deep water environment. As floating offshore wind measurement devices are mobile, they have the additional benefit of being able to measure wind resource in multiple locations during construction and operational of the wind farm life. 

This is a very exciting project for the OWA as the commercialisation of floating LiDAR could lead to capex savings of up to 90% when compared to the cost of installing a meteorological mast, as well as additional opex savings. It is critical that suppliers can demonstrate they have achieved the relevant stages of commercial acceptance set out in the OWA Floating LiDAR Roadmap and a significant body of validation data completed to increase confidence in this technology. This will bring suppliers closer to commercialisation of their products and will result in increased competition in the young market for floating LiDAR units.

- Megan Smith, Project Manager, Wakes Research at the Carbon Trust

The first of up to five device manufacturers taking part in this project have been announced, each featuring diverse design characteristics in terms of motion compensation, LiDAR unit, mooring system, power supply, and floater design. The floating LiDARs will be provided by manufacturers ranging from start-up companies to mid-sized corporations from different countries including:

  • EOLOS LiDAR Buoy of EOLOS, Spain – planned to deploy at IJmuiden
  • FLiDAR of FLiDAR, Belgium – deployed already at Neart na Gaoithe
  • WindSentinel of AXYS, Canada – planned to deploy at East Anglia
  • Up to two further devices to be trialled at IJmuiden and East Anglia

All five trials will have the data verified by independent data analysts, contracted in order to perform the data analysis and validation of the floating LiDARs’ measurement data against the measurements of the fixed met masts.

The trials will be conducted against the background of the Carbon Trust OWA Floating LiDAR Roadmap which was published in November 2013 and has become a widely accepted reference by the industry. Therefore the results of the trials are expected to be accepted by key external parties, such as financial institutions and banks’ advisors.



For further information please contact the Carbon Trust press office on 020 7170 7050 or email

About the Carbon Trust

The Carbon Trust is an independent company with a mission to accelerate the move to a sustainable, low-carbon economy. The Carbon Trust:

  • advises businesses, governments and the public sector on opportunities in a sustainable, low-carbon world;
  • measures and certifies the environmental footprint of organisations, products and services;
  • helps develop and deploy low-carbon technologies and solutions, from energy efficiency to renewable power

Notes to editors:

The aims of the project are to:

  • test the accuracy of floating LiDAR collected wind speed, directional and turbulence data in comparison with a fixed met mast.
  • test the complete system availability of the floating LiDAR units including LiDAR availability, weather downtime from excessive motion, spray or fog, auxiliary system availability (incl. power systems, washers etc.) and communication availability.
  • test the robustness of the floating LiDAR units under far shore metocean conditions to demonstrate robustness, redundancy and survivability.
  • gain experience of the safety aspects of the floating LiDAR units in terms of deployment, gaining access offshore, carrying out maintenance and recovery.
  • evaluate the marine safety of the floating LiDAR units in terms of markings and identification, collision avoidance protection, compliance with MCA requirements and aids to navigation.

About Offshore Wind Accelerator (OWA)

The Offshore Wind Accelerator (OWA) is Carbon Trust's flagship collaborative RD&D programme. Set up in 2008, the OWA is a joint industry project, involving nine offshore wind developers with 72% (31GW) of the UK's licensed capacity, which aims to reduce the cost of offshore wind by 10% by 2015. Cost reduction is achieved through innovation.  The OWA is part funded by DECC and the Scottish Government.