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Global: Floating LiDAR technology cost effective solution for offshore wind farm development?

The business case for offshore wind farms relies on accurate wind resource assessments. Today, the most accurate wind data are generated using offshore meteorological masts, which are very expensive.

An alternative is floating LiDAR technology potentially providing a cost effective solution. This technology builds upon ground based LiDARs which are already accepted by industry for usage in flat terrain. A ground based (static) LiDAR is a laser based device to measure the wind remotely. In case of a floating LiDAR, the device is placed on a buoy or other kind of floater.

In collaboration with RWE, Eneco and Fugro Oceanor ECN has performed a Fugro Oceanor Seawatch floating LiDAR validation trial near the offshore meteorological mast IJmuiden, located in the North sea about 75km from the Dutch shore. Particularly important is the presence of a static LiDAR inside the mast of the same make to be used as an alternative reference and providing the opportunity to distinguish between different technologies.

ECN confirms, based on the study, that indeed the Fugro Oceanor Seawatch floating LiDAR is in the pre-commercial stage according to the Offshore Wind Accelerator roadmap for the commercial acceptance of floating LiDAR technology. Moreover it was in this particular case demonstrated that ¾ of the deviation of the floating LiDAR with the mast is due to the used technology (LiDAR) and ¼ due to marine conditions. It also appeared that atmospheric turbulence is one of the main drivers for deviations with the mast.

In addition, ECN has demonstrated with this study that a static LiDAR can well be used as reference for a floating LiDAR instead of a mast. The main difference is a higher uncertainty, as the static LiDAR needs first be validated against a mast. This uncertainty of the floating LiDAR wind speed ranges from 3.6% to 6.8%.

More information about the validation test and the results of this study can be found in the full report.


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