January 8, 2021
Journal Article

Advancing Offshore Wind Resource Characterization Using Buoy-based Observations


As countries continue to implement sustainable and renewable energy goals, the need for affordable low-carbon technologies, including those related to offshore wind energy, is accelerating. The U.S. federal government recognizes the environmental and economic benefits of offshore wind development and is taking the necessary steps to overcome critical challenges facing the industry to realize these benefits. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is investing in buoy-mounted lidar systems to facilitate offshore measurement campaigns that will advance our understanding of the offshore environment and provide the observational data needed for model validation, particularly at hub height where offshore observations are particularly lacking. On behalf of the DOE, the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory manages a Lidar Buoy Program that facilitates meteorological and oceanographic data collection using validated methods to support the U.S. offshore wind industry. Since being acquired in 2014, two DOE lidar buoys have been deployed on the U.S. east and west coasts, and their data represent the first publicly available multi-seasonal hub height data to be collected in U.S. waters. In addition, the buoys have undergone performance testing, significant upgrades, and a lidar validation campaign to ensure the accuracy and reliability of the lidar data needed to support wind resource characterization and model validation (the lidars were validated against a reference lidar installed on the Air-Sea Interaction Tower operated by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution). The Lidar Buoy Program is providing valuable offshore data to the wind energy community, while focusing data collection on areas of acknowledged high priority.


Published: January 8, 2021

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