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Crown Estate publishes wind analysis report

‘Largest UK wind study’ shows met mast data is crucial to offshore wind industry.

The Crown Estate has published a report that compares the data used from satellites against that of meteorological data gathered by offshore masts, which are both used to inform investment and design decisions for offshore wind farms.

The ‘UK MERRA offshore validation’ study provides fresh insight into whether reanalysis (MERRA - Modern-Era Retrospective Analysis for Research and Applications) data could be used in support of, or in some cases in substitution for, meteorological data gathered by offshore masts.  The report found that MERRA absolute wind speeds are not accurate enough to replace mast measurements, but do provide valuable estimates of offshore wind speeds in the project planning stage.

The study involved the processing and analysis of wind data from more than 20 offshore masts representing 85-plus years of offshore measurements. According to Ian Pritchard, energy asset portfolio manager at The Crown Estate, that potentially represents “the largest offshore validation of MERRA data ever undertaken.”

Reanalysis data reduces the cost and risk of offshore wind farm development by providing a source of long-term modelled meteorological data that is generally both difficult and expensive to acquire through direct measurement campaigns. 
By testing and analysing reanalysis data, wind farm developers can better model and understand how their projects are likely to perform once built.  The traditional use of reanalysis data has been to correlate it with actual short-term wind speed measurements from meteorological masts when making the case for a final investment decision. 
This report complements The Crown Estate’s broader role in the renewables sector as it works to support the development of UK offshore wind through a direct investment of up to £100 million. 
The comprehensive, 47-page report is available online at no charge.

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Energy efficiency  •  Energy infrastructure  •  Wind power