Mainstream deploys North Sea’s first floating wind measurement device

Global renewable energy developer Mainstream Renewable Power is to deploy the North Sea’s first commercial floating LiDAR wind measurement device, designed to capture wind data in the harshest conditions, to support its proposed 450MW Neart Na Gaoithe offshore wind farm.  A deal has been signed with technology providers FLiDAR NV, for the launch of the floating LiDAR to the site almost 16km off the Fife Ness Coast early next year. Prior to its launch, the floating LiDAR will also be the first device to be validated at Narec’s newly installed Offshore Anemometry and Research Platform located off the coast of Blyth, Northumberland.

The FLiDAR consists of state – of – the art measurement equipment including a buoy adapted Leosphere LiDAR mounted on a standard marine buoy and powered by its own renewable energy system comprising solar photovoltaic and wind power technology.

FLiDAR technology signals a significant shift from the reliance on fixed offshore meteorological (met) masts in assessing the potential wind resource for offshore wind farms. The Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult, which supports the development and rapid commercialisation of technology solutions across the sector, will continue to work closely with Mainstream and its partners to promote the use of floating LiDAR.

David Sweenie, Offshore Manager Scotland said: “This announcement underpins our commitment to innovation and to the adoption of the technologies that have the potential to drive down the cost of offshore wind. We’re confident that the accuracy and reliability of the FLiDAR device will help to deliver quality, onsite wind measurements as part of our on-going assessments for Neart na Goaithe.”

Bruce Douglas, General Manager of FLiDAR said: “We are delighted to work with Mainstream Renewable Power, one of the most progressive and respected offshore wind developers in the world to deliver the most accurate and cost effective offshore wind resource measurements.”

Narec’s Commercial Director, Richard Morris said: “Narec is pleased that our offshore anemometry platform is playing a critical role in helping this technology to be accepted by the financial sector.

“Remote sensing technologies and their application in the offshore environment is becoming a key area of focus in allowing the industry to reduce costs. Our platform provides developers and manufacturers with an excellent opportunity to compare new techniques with traditional wind measurement methods in order to prove reliability, data availability and performance in a remote offshore environment.”

The prototype FLiDAR technology was validated earlier this year in the Irish Sea as part of the UK’s Carbon Trust Offshore Wind Accelerator programme which greatly enhanced the commercial readiness of the technology.

Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult CEO Andrew Jamieson said “This deployment will be instrumental to the UK meeting its offshore renewable energy targets and the resulting reduction in carbon emissions. Collaborative working across the industry is what the Catapult was set up to do, and today’s announcement is a significant demonstration of the progress that we and the industry as a whole are making”.

Neart Na Gaoithe is seen as a flagship project for offshore renewables in Scotland and is a key project in Mainstream’s global portfolio.

The project received planning consent for the onshore works connected to the wind farm in June 2013 and a decision on the offshore elements is expected by the end of this year.

Ends.

Notes to editors:

· Neart na Gaoithe (NnG) will have a capacity of 450MW

· There will be 72-90 turbines – dependent on which turbine model is selected.

· The NnG site is located in the outer Firth of Forth and is 15.5 kilometres from the coast of Fife at its closest point to land.

· The closest turbine will be 15.8 kilometres from the shore.

· The NnG site will be approximately 81 square kilometres with the turbines sited in water depths of 48 – 54 metres.

· Narec has invested over £150 million of UK Government, private sector and European Union funding to create a unique integrated portfolio of research, testing and demonstration facilities for the offshore renewables industry, operated on an open-access, commercial basis in Blyth, Northumberland, England.

· Narec’s Offshore Anemometry Platform is an open access, offshore facility; located three nautical miles off Blyth, Northumberland.  Close to the location of the proposed nearest shore array of the Blyth Offshore Wind Demonstrator Project, it will provide wind resource and environmental data to validate turbine demonstrations on the proposed site as well as validation of LiDAR and floating LiDAR.

· FLiDAR N.V. is a joint venture between 3E and OWA (DEME group), to build, deploy and operate floating LiDAR based measurement devices. It combines the experience of 3E, an independent consultant and software services provider with more than 10 years of experience in offshore wind measurement and modelling, OWA, a daughter company of DEME, an offshore contractor with huge amount of experience in offshore operations and the LiDAR supplier, LEOSPHERE, the world’s leading manufacturer of LiDAR technology.

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