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LiDARs Replace Met Masts in Offshore Wind Measurements

At the Offshore Wind conference 2017 in London, Leosphere brought its community together in a seminar, offering users to challenge their views and learn about the potential offered by light detection and ranging (LiDAR) technology. According to the wind measurement experts gathered in London, the LiDARs are replacing met masts to become the wind measurement tool used for offshore resource assessment and power curve verification purposes.

According to the experts LiDAR measurement are as reliably as met masts measurements. They also claimed that LiDARs are faster, easier and much cheaper to deploy, enabling significant development and operational cost reductions. In practice, the use of nacelle mounted LiDARs is already frequently required in the turbine supply agreement for power curve verification testing, even if LiDAR measurements are not yet covered by IEC standards.

Met masts cannot compete with LiDARs on cost in the offshore market. For the Beatrice offshore windfarm, off the North East coast of Scotland, the wind measurement campaign was carried out with two vertical profiler LiDARs which enabled to start the measurement campaign much earlier and without the significant costs associated with installing an offshore met mast. After twelve months of LiDAR wind measurement the project had the essential data needed to help achieve financial close on the offshore wind project.

For an offshore project developed by RES, the installation of a met mast, estimated at €12 million, was ruled out in favour of a single fixed LiDAR, coupled with two floating LiDARs. The fixed LiDAR, installed on a nearby lighthouse, and the floating LiDARs located at points across the windfarm zone, enabled the company to secure reliable, bankable data adding millions of euros to the project value in addition to the cost savings and the elimination of the health and safety risks associated with the installation of a met mast.