RWE Innogy and Carbon Trust to test wind measurement buoys

The trial is part of the Carbon Trust’s Offshore Wind Accelerator (OWA) programme - aimed at developing new methods of collecting wind speed data.

As part of the Carbon Trust’s Offshore Wind Accelerator (OWA) programme, RWE Innogy will assist the Carbon Trust at the Gwynt y Môr site - location for one of Europe’s largest offshore wind farms. Two Light Detection and Ranging units (LIDAR) will be mounted on buoys and be temporarily installed ten miles off the north Wales coast, close to the existing met mast of Gwynt y Môr offshore wind farm. 

The aim of the trial is to develop a better understanding of siting wind farms,leading to a reduction in the cost of offshore wind power by 10% by 2015. The first results are expected in 2013.

“The need for research in the field of offshore wind power continues to be immense” said Paul Coffey, COO at RWE Innogy. “The construction of measuring stations is an important step towards recording and analysing local wind conditions. The data is of fundamental significance for the development, construction and operation of offshore wind power plants. It is for this reason that we support the testing of these measuring buoys.”

The two LIDAR 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, while Babcock's model 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.

Seven other energy utilities and offshore wind developers including Dong, Eon, Mainstream and Scottish Power are also participating in the trial.

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