Norsewind Publishes Results

NORSEWInD, or in full the Northern Seas Wind Index Database, is a four-year project conceived in 2008 which aimed to bring high quality hub height wind atlas data to the North, Irish and Baltic Seas. Four years on, and the project has apparently succeeded in creating one of the biggest dedicated instrumentation networks to acquire wind speed data offshore. In a bid to help reduce costs and uncertainty, the project has produced an open access database of wind energy statistics using cutting edge methods that combine modelling, met mast data, satellite data, and LiDAR data. Set objectives included developing offshore wind atlases for the Baltic, Irish and North Seas with a database derived from real data acquired offshore, as well as a suite of techniques to provide cost-effective data anywhere offshore. Other objectives included the promotion and acceptance of remote sensing and development of an advanced short-term forecasting system taking advantage of near real-time spatio-temporal measurement data. Under the coordination of Oldbaum Services – a consultancy firm specialising in data acquisition and instrumentation services for the wind industry – and carried out by a consortium of 22 partners throughout Europe, the €7.9 million project was funded to the tune of €3.9 million under the EC FP7 programme. The remainder of the funding came from the project partners, a group composed largely of developers and validation and verification specialists which included, among others, the Danish Technical University IMM, Garrad Hassan & Partners, IWES Fraunhofer Institute, Kjeller Vindteknikk, RISOE DTU, University of Strathclyde, WINDTEST Kaiser Wilhelm Koog, Scottish Enterprise, DONG Energy, Nautilus Associates, Statoil Hydro ASA, 3E, CLS, LNEG Portugal, the University of Lisbon, EDPR, Scottish and Southern Energy and SmartWIND.

Andy Oldroyd, technical director of Oldbaum Services, speaking to REW, explained that the shortfall was made up – around 50% -by partner contributions of varying types: ‘Effectively this came to funding a LiDAR installation in a particular location. Statoil Hydro, SmartWind, SSE, EDPR, all came in and contributed to the project,’ said Oldroyd, adding that developers were agreeable to ‘effectively [funding] the procurement of a data node’ at a location that fitted in with their business goals.

More data reduces uncertainty

Oldroyd described the wind atlas as ‘a geo-spatial database featuring wind speed and wind direction, atmosphere stability [and] shear profiles.’ He continued, ‘The atlas will be available via a web portal at the end of September 2012, together with a Geographical Information System (GIS) where a developer will be able to pick their location and get a list of parameters, which will help them probably up to and including pre-FEED studies.’

‘The role of an atlas and of wind energy data is not necessarily just constrained to annual energy production, it also feeds into structural and layout design, which then feed into electrical infrastructure design and foundation design. So there’s a degree of interlinking between different disciplines,’ Oldroyd said. ‘The better data you can have or the more data you can have, the better you can reduce uncertainty in all these disciplines.’

Close to two dozen LiDAR units were used over the two-year data acquisition phase of the project. ‘At any one time we had 20 physical data nodes and we had roughly 10 and 10 between LiDAR and met masts,’ Oldroyd explained. NORSEWInD also found that they were able to use other infrastructure in the North Sea, such as oil rigs to host Lidar installation in alternative locations. ‘That gave us flexibility. We could place Lidar where perhaps there wasn’t any designated economic development but it would give us better science for the atlas. We could also put them in areas where the developers were interested in economic development to increase the data resolution at those points,’ said Oldroyd.

He continued: ‘NORSEWInD provides many industry firsts including the creation of one of the world’s largest satellite Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) repositories for wind; systematic testing of flow distortion and correction on LiDAR measurements; and the systematic “lifting” of satellite data from reporting height to hub height.’

Looking ahead, Oldroyd clearly hungers for ever more data with which to further hone the model: ‘The main issue at the moment, I think, is that we continue the acquisition of data, and that’s something we’d need to go to our partners and talk about.’

David Appleyard is Chief Editor of Renewable Energy World magazine.

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