Eneco Luchterduinen and RWE Innogy have deployed a new metocean buoy in the Dutch North Sea to study the impact of wind, waves and currents on the development and operation of offshore wind power plants.
Equipped with a light detection and ranging (LiDAR) device, the buoy, which has been deployed for a six month validation period, is located near RWE Innogy's existing IJmuiden met-mast, some 75km west off IJmuiden in the Tromp Binnen wind farm area.
The floating platform with a diameter of 2.8m and a weight of around 1.7t is collecting data on wind, wave, current and ambient conditions, while the collected data will be assessed by an independent analyst with initial results set for submission by mid-2014.
The 'Seawatch' Wind LiDAR buoy costs 10-20% as much as a conventional met-mast and helps reduce offshore wind development costs, RWE claims.
Co-funded by the Far and Large Offshore Wind (FLOW) R&D programme sponsored by the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs, the meteorological and oceanographic buoy has already been tested twice at RWE's Gwynt y Mor offshore wind project in the UK.
The test is aimed at finding a cost-efficient offshore measurement solution as an alternative for expensive fixed met-masts by validating the buoy's data with that of the met-mast.
Eneco director wind offshore Ruben Dijkstra said wind and wave data is necessary for the development, construction and operation of offshore wind farms.
Dijkstra said, "Affordable non-stationary equipment for accurate assessment of wind resources can improve the measuring methodology and ultimately reduce costs for offshore wind projects.
"After the six month testing period, we are planning to deploy the metocean buoy at our Eneco Luchterduinen offshore wind farm for a duration test of more than one year during the construction phase."
Image: Metocean buoy in front of met-mast in the North Sea. Photo: courtesy of RWE.