UK: An innovative floating Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) system has been deployed by Babcock at RWE’s Gwynt y Môr offshore wind farm, off the north Wales coast. It will provide meteorological data, alongside that collected by a fixed met mast for comparison, during a six-month trial.
The trial is part of the Offshore Wind Accelerator (OWA) programme, which aims to reduce the cost of offshore wind power. Traditional met masts are expensive to install, and they will be increasingly so as developers move further offshore into deeper waters.
Babcock’s floating LiDAR system has been designed to take into account the high levels of motion typical of offshore sites. This has limited the use of LiDAR systems to date.
Deployment of the system at Gwynt y Môr required the use of a crane barge and a work catamaran. No diving activity was required. Photovoltaic panels and micro wind turbines installed on the buoy feed an integrated power system for the LiDAR. In future, Babcock expects to develop the system to measure further key factors beyond meteorological data, including fauna monitoring, and wave and tidal activity.
Babcock programme manager, Liam Forbes, said: "The ability for offshore windfarm developers and operators to use a floating platform for meteorological monitoring and information gathering in preference to a fixed one, to retain reliable and accurate data, will help to drive down both construction and through-life costs for the windfarm, and will also be a valuable contribution to the development of the next generation deep water sites."