North Sea wind atlas to assist offshore projects

The North Sea. Image:
The North Sea. Image:
Image: – The North Sea.
Image: – The North Sea.

Dutch researchers and meteorologists are creating an atlas of North Sea wind volumes and speeds, which they say could provide greater certainty for offshore wind projects.

The Energy Research Centre of the Netherlands (ECN), the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute (KNMI) and Whiffle, a start-up forecasting company based at Delft University of Technology, began developing the Dutch Offshore Wind Atlas (DOWA) in June.

ECN said having clarity about the average amount of wind and how often wind speeds reach extreme levels would enable a more accurate estimate of how much wind energy you can generate and how robust wind turbines need to be to prevent damage or failure.

"Greater certainty about the potential performance of your wind farm also makes it possible to secure cheaper loans from investors. This reduces the cost of offshore wind energy, a key target set by the Dutch government," said ECN.

The group aims to catalogue wind information off the Dutch coast, chart wind changes within a 24-hour period, and provide information from layers of air at altitudes of 600 metres.

It will use data gathered from aircrafts and satellites, as well as from lidar (light detection and ranging) equipment capable of scanning wind fields at altitudes of more than 1km.

The group is also updating the KNMI North Sea Wind (KNW) atlas with information from 2014 onwards, enabling predictions of wind energy production at wind farms now in the planning phase.
Funded by the Netherlands Enterprise Agency (NEA) with a €1.5 million (US$1.7 million) grant, DOWA will run until December 2019.

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