Prototype by “FLiDAR“
If the trials are successful LIDAR devices are expected to be a simpler, quicker, more effective and cheaper alternative to met masts, to be used during offshore wind project development.
The two models being trialled, one manufactured by the Belgian company “FLiDAR“, the other by the British producer “Babcock International Group“, differ particularly in terms of design. The prototype developed by FLiDAR floats on the waves and is undergoing a trial for wave motion compensation. This prototype has already been successfully used in the Belgian North Sea for accurate wind data collection. The measuring buoy from Babcock is currently under construction and is characterised by its low motion buoy design.
Both prototypes will be towed by ship to the chosen measuring site where they are anchored to the seabed. Electricity will be supplied by photovoltaic panels and micro-wind turbines installed on the buoy. Like a conventional met mast, the buoys will supply weather data on wind velocities and wind direction. These trial laser-based measuring systems will be used to record wind velocity and wind direction both horizontally and vertically up to a height of 200 meters.
The trials were initiated by the Carbon Trust’s Offshore Wind Accelerator programme which involves RWE Innogy as well as seven other energy utilities and offshore wind developers:
Dong, Eon, Mainstream, Scottish Power, SSE, Statkraft and Statoil.
At 576MW, Gwynt y Môr is one of the largest offshore wind farms currently under construction in Europe, and is a shared investment between funding partners RWE Innogy, Stadtwerke München GmbH and Siemens1. Once fully operational in 2014, energy generation from Gwynt y Môr is expected to be equivalent to the average annual needs of around 400,000 homes2.
1. Gwynt y Môr represents a total investment of more than EUR2 billion, shared between RWE npower renewables’ parent company RWE Innogy (60%); Stadtwerke München GmbH, Munich’s municipal utilities company (30%); and Siemens (10%).
2.Energy predicted to be generated by the proposal is derived using wind speeds monitored in the local area. This enables a calculation to be made to estimate the average annual energy production for the site based on 160 turbines, each of rated capacity 3.6 MW. The energy capture predicted and hence derived homes equivalent figures may change as further data are gathered. Equivalent homes supplied is based on an annual electricity consumption per home of 4700 kWh. This figure is supported by recent domestic electricity consumption data available from The Digest of UK Energy Statistics and household estimates and projections from the UK Statistics Authority.