Two radar units will be installed in 2016 on the UK east coast near the Westermost Rough Offshore Wind Farm which is currently under construction. They will produce high-resolution dynamic maps of the wind flow through and around the wind farm.
The 18-month measurement campaign - the first of its kind where radar will be used for offshore wind measurement - will focus on wind farm wakes, power curve measurements and wind turbine load validation. The campaign is part of DONG Energy's BEACon - Beamed Radar for Energy Assessment and Site Conditions - research and development project. The project team will be responsible for running the test and demonstrating the new radars.
Nicolai Gayle Nygaard, BEACon Technical Manager in DONG Energy, explained: "The dual-Doppler radars represent the next generation of wind measurement technology. Contrary to standard measurement set-ups, such as a met mast or a profiling lidar which provide measurements of the wind speed and direction at a single position, the radars give us the ability to quickly scan the flow field in and around an entire wind farm with unprecedented range and resolution.
Nygaard continued: "This enables a paradigm shift in the approach to integrating wind measurements into the design and operation of offshore wind farms. Project BEACon will give us invaluable new knowledge which can be applied across our entire portfolio to lower the cost of electricity."
Wind data is a cost driver
When developing new offshore wind farms, wind data is one of the key drivers of the layout. Besides their impact on the wind farm production the wind conditions also influence the capital expenditure through the foundation design. With the wind data from the BEACon project DONG Energy will be able to refine the assumptions and models used in optimising wind farm layouts and in the design of turbine foundations.
Jesper Skov Gretlund, BEACon Project Manager in DONG Energy, said: "What is especially exciting and challenging about the BEACon project are the many related areas within engineering and technical analysis of offshore wind that can benefit from the project. Our feasibility study and derived business case show significant potential impact on several cost drivers."
John Schroeder, Co-Founder of SmartWind Technologies, said: "Radar technologies have up until now been used for limited application in onshore wind farms acquiring detailed information to rapidly visualise evolving complex flows and turbine-to-turbine interaction."
He added: "This collaboration transitions these measurement concepts offshore and will provide information fundamental to driving down the cost of offshore wind energy further. Not only will these measurements contribute to short-term understanding of offshore wind farm complex flows; they will also open the door for developing future concepts, such as wind farm system level control and optimisation."
To date DONG Energy has built close to every third offshore wind turbine in the world. By 2020, the company aim is to have built 6,500 MW, tripling its current installed capacity. DONG Energy is currently building another five offshore wind farms in the UK and Germany and will continue to develop the projects in its pipeline to meet the 2020 targets.