Over the last few months, The Crown Estate has published a raft of new offshore data and information on its Marine Data Exchange (MDE) website. It has published a “vast collection” of data collected from a wide range of surveys and technical studies from the former Celtic Array offshore wind project off the coast of Anglesey, and the First Flight Wind offshore wind project off the coast of County Down, Northern Ireland.
This was followed by the publication of the largest collection of offshore wind speed and direction data available, collated from several meteorological masts, buoys and LiDAR devices around the UK, including The Wash, Thames Estuary and the Irish Sea – and a report reviewing the performance of the UK’s operational offshore wind portfolio and a high resolution modelled dataset for wind resource.
According to Adrian Fox, programme manager for supply chain and technology at The Crown Estate, the data provides more accurate and higher resolution values for yearly, seasonal and monthly average wind speeds at hub height and is very important for the future development of the UK offshore wind energy sector.
“Metmast data over a number of years is often used to validate models that recreate a historical record of atmospheric conditions, including wind speed and wind direction,” he explained. “Such models are important and are regularly used for wind resource analysis and operational monitoring for windfarms before, and after construction.
“Estimating the power output from a wind farm is a critical element of the design and arrangement of equipment, and given that power is proportional to the cube of the wind speed, even small variations in wind speed can have significant impact on decisions.”
As a result of more accurate wind modelling, Mr Fox believes developers and operators can improve energy assessment predictions for their wind farms and help support the case for making an investment decision, for example, during the development phase, to design the most efficient siting and array layout, in turn helping reduce costs for offshore wind.
“As manager of the UK seabed, The Crown Estate takes an active role in helping unlock value from this natural asset,” he concluded. “We seek to capitalise on our strategic overview by bringing industry together to share knowledge and best practice in offshore energy, but also by making data, such as the wind modelling, freely available on our Marine Data Exchange, thereby contributing towards the sustainable development of the seabed over the long-term.”