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North Sea’s first floating wind measurement device

Mainstream Renewable Power is to deploy the North Sea’s first commercial floating LiDAR wind measurement device, designed to capture wind data in harsh conditions.

The device will be situated almost 16 km off the Fife Ness coast early in 2014. It will be the first of its kind to be validated at Narec’s newly installed offshore anemometry and research Platform located off the coast of Blyth, Northumberland. 

The wind measurement device is planned to support Mainstream's proposed 450MW Neart Na Gaoithe (NnG) offshore wind farm. When online, NnG will have a capacity of 450MW with betwen 72-90 turbines, dependinf on which model is selected.The NnG site will be approximately 81 km2 with the turbines sited in water depths of 48-54 m.

LiDAR is a remote sensing technology that measures distance by illuminating a target with a laser and analyzing the reflected light. The LiDAR consists of measurement equipment including a buoy-adapted Leosphere LiDAR mounted on a standard marine buoy and powered by its own renewable energy system comprising solar photovoltaic and wind power technology.  
FLiDAR technology signals a significant shift from the reliance on fixed offshore meteorological (met) masts in assessing the potential wind resource for offshore wind farms, the company says. The Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult, which supports the development of technology solutions across the sector, will continue to work closely with Mainstream and its partners to promote the use of floating LiDAR.  
“This announcement underpins our commitment to innovation and to the adoption of the technologies that have the potential to drive down the cost of offshore wind,” said David Sweenie, offshore manager Scotland. “We’re confident that the accuracy and reliability of the FLiDAR device will help to deliver quality, onsite wind measurements as part of our on-going assessments for Neart na Goaithe.”
“Narec is pleased that our offshore anemometry platform is playing a critical role in helping this technology to be accepted by the financial sector,” said Narec’s commercial director, Richard Morris. “Remote sensing technologies and their application in the offshore environment is becoming a key area of focus in allowing the industry to reduce costs. Our platform provides developers and manufacturers with an excellent opportunity to compare new techniques with traditional wind measurement methods in order to prove reliability, data availability and performance in a remote offshore environment.”

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Energy infrastructure  •  Policy, investment and markets  •  Wind power