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Offshore Wind LiDAR measurement

Ground breaking trial at world's second largest offshore wind farm concludes

20 February 2015

 

• Innovative wind measurement buoy trials supported by RWE Innogy and Carbon Trust’s Offshore Wind Accelerator programme

• Results highlight laser technology can be successfully utilised to collect wind speed data offshore

• Heralds a potential multi-million £ saving for the UK’s offshore renewables industry

 

 

A two year trial to collect wind speed data at sea, using innovative laser-based measurement devices mounted on floating buoys, has concluded. RWE Innogy, together with the Carbon Trust's Offshore Wind Accelerator (OWA) programme, tested the Light Detection and Ranging units (LIDAR) technology at what is soon to become the world’s second largest offshore wind farm. The 576MW, 160 turbine Gwynt y Môr Offshore Wind Farm, is in the Liverpool Bay, off the North Wales coast.

The trial, which started in September 2012, assessed the effectiveness of the LIDAR prototypes in recording and analysing local wind conditions. An independent review by energy consultants DNV GL highlighted that the new technology is capable of providing accurate wind speed measurements when the measurement buoys are exposed to waves, currents and tides.


The results highlight that the LIDAR technology is progressing well towards being effectively deployed to collect meteorological and oceanographic (metocean) data. The benefits of the new technology include it costing a fraction of the cost of a fixed met mast – currently the traditional method of collecting such data at offshore wind farms*. The two year trial also indicated that floating LIDARs can be quicker to deploy and cheaper to install than traditional met masts. It is also possible to move the floating LIDAR systems around site, giving developers more accurate data on the actual wind resource available.

 

The trials are significant for both individual projects and also for the offshore renewables industry as a whole. The Offshore Wind Accelerator (OWA) programme, developed and managed by the Carbon Trust, has the aim of reducing the cost of offshore wind power by 10 per cent in time for Round 3. The results of this research highlight how the development of innovative technology can play a very real and critical part in helping us reach this aim.

Michael Rea, Carbon Trust Chief Operating Officer

We were pleased to be able to support this trial, the end of which has coincided with the successful construction of Gwynt y Môr, the second largest offshore wind farm in the world. Constructing offshore wind farms is immensely challenging and expensive and will continue to be so as projects move into deeper waters. What this trial has shown is the importance of research and development projects in helping the industry continue to find effective and innovative methods of utilising technology to reduce costs and improve efficiency.

Paul Cowling,Director of Offshore Wind at RWE Innogy

The analysis demonstrated not just the ability of the systems to measure wind speeds, but also how that ability is affected by sea state and atmospheric conditions. This will help developers judge how the systems could perform at their sites and will help add value to their operations.

Neil Adams, Project Leader at Frazer-Nash Consultancy’

 

As part of the trial two LIDARs were mounted on buoys and installed close to the existing meteorological mast of Gwynt y Môr offshore wind farm. Both units collected wind data, which was then compared with information from the met mast, with good results.


The two models trialled, include one manufactured by the Belgian company "FLiDAR", and the other by the UK support services company "Babcock International Group". The models differed in terms of design. The prototype developed by FLiDAR having a motion compensation with a Leosphere LIDAR system and the Babcock prototype being characterised by its low motion buoy design with a Natural Power ZephIR LIDAR system.


Both prototypes were towed by ship to the chosen measuring site where they were anchored to the seabed, with electricity supplied by photovoltaic panels and micro-wind turbines installed on to the buoys. Like conventional met masts, the buoys were proven to supply weather data on wind velocities and wind direction, up to a height of 200 metres.


FLiDAR have progressed from the demonstration at Gwynt y Môr to a number of commercial deployments and the development of a redesigned and optimised floating LIDAR buoy. Since completing the trial Babcock has incorporated lessons learned into the equipment selection, including the addition of a GPS compass to improve wind direction measurement, and is now anticipating the first commercial deployment of its floating LIDAR system.


DNV GL Principal Engineer, Simon Cox said: “Floating LIDAR technology continues to demonstrate its potential to reduce the cost of measurements for offshore wind power with two devices now independently assessed against a robust, yet practical, set of industry acceptance criteria." The trials were initiated by the Carbon Trust's Offshore Wind Accelerator programme which involves RWE Innogy in addition to eight other offshore wind developers: DONG Energy, E.ON, Mainstream, ScottishPower Renewables, SSE, Statkraft, Statoil, and Vattenfall.

ENDS

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

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

Editor’s notes

*100m tall fixed met masts typically cost several million pounds to fabricate and install, and can take as long as a year to get into the water, often as far as 100km offshore at depths greater than 30m.

About RWE Innogy UK

RWE Innogy UK is the UK subsidiary of RWE Innogy and one of the UK’s leading renewable energy developers and operators. We are committed to developing and operating renewable energy projects to produce sustainable electricity.

We operate 22 hydroelectric power schemes, 32 onshore wind farms and two offshore wind farms, including the UK’s first major offshore wind farm, North Hoyle and construction of the 576 megawatt Gwynt y Môr Offshore Wind Farm, off the North Wales coast was completed in November 2014. Construction of RWE Innogy UK’s Biomass Combined Heat and Power (CHP) plant in Fife, Scotland, is now complete and the plant has entered its operational testing phase, 


From development, to construction and operation, our staff in area offices across Wales, Scotland and England work in close partnership with local communities and companies. In 2013, renewable energy sites operated by RWE Innogy UK invested over £1 million into communities across the UK. The investments made by RWE in the UK are creating substantial new job opportunities, developing the supply chain and, very importantly, helping the UK Government achieve the EU target of supplying 30% of electricity from renewables, by 2020.


RWE Innogy pools the renewable energy expertise and generating plant of the RWE Group. RWE Innogy is fully committed to growth in renewable energy across Europe and the UK continues to play a significant role.


RWE Innogy UK is a sister company to RWE npower, a leading UK energy company with around 5.4 million customer accounts.


For further information about RWE Innogy UK and RWE Innogy visit www.rweinnogy.com/uk and www.rweinnogy.com For further information about RWE npower visit www.rwenpower.com

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

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
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