Offshore wind farm developers are moving into more distant and deeper waters to mitigate visual pollution challenges and increase the power output of their farms. Offshore wind is expected to reach approximately 40 GW of global installed capacity by 2020 (Global Data, 2014).
Project developers, financing agencies, and regulators require extensive site data in order to reduce technical risks and manage development costs:
- Wind resource data – to forecast the potential power to be generated by the farm
- Ocean wave and other weather related information – to enable robust engineering design for the development and build of the wind farm
- Environmental data – for permitting and impact assessment of the site for governmental approval
This data collection is likely to include two or more years of wind data from the site as part of the initial development process, and this need for wind, wave, and environmental data will continue throughout the operational life of the project, which lasts several decades. OPT’s PowerBuoy will provide a mobile, real time higher density and quality data collection to enable sound and effective decision making, mitigate overall project associated risks and reduce costs associated with site engineering, operations planning, and project development as well is throughout the farm’s life cycle.
Considering the tremendous advantage of the emerging LiDAR technology (Light Detection and Ranging) as a means to collect some of the critical data discussed above (wind resource data) cost effectively, OPT’s PowerBuoy products can provide a stable platform rivaling the accuracy of a cumbersome metmast, at a fraction of the associated cost and complexity. Additionally, OPT’s PowerBuoy systems can considerably mitigate the stability challenges related to in-ocean deployment of LiDARs as currently observed in some of the early LiDAR platforms. Furthermore, the mobility of a LiDAR platform provides the added benefit of gathering turbine operating data from various parts of the wind farm, which may stretch over several miles.
- Remote, high latitude Floating LiDAR to replace high cost metmasts for wind assessment
- Single multi-use environmental sensor system for measurement of all Environmental Impact Assessment parameters
- Replacement of generators for powering monopiles prior to installation of turbines and during turbine commissioning.