MRP to debut FLiDAR in North Sea

Mainstream Renewable Power (MRP) plans to deploy the North Sea’s first commercial floating Lidar (FLiDAR) device as part of its development of the 450MW Neart Na Gaoithe wind farm off Scotland.

Under a deal with Belgian outfit FLiDAR NV, the unit – cued up to be put through final validation at the UK’s National Renewable Energy Centre’s (Narec) Blyth Offshore Wind Demonstration Site off northeast England – will be installed 16km off the Fife Ness coast early next year.

Designed to capture wind data in the harshest marine conditions, the FLiDAR features of state - of - the art measurement equipment including a Leosphere LiDAR mounted on a standard marine buoy that is powered by micro PV wind power technology.  

“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,” says MRP’s Scotland offshore manager David Sweenie. “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.”

The FLiDAR will be deployed alongside Narec’s recently installed Offshore Anemometry and Research Platform.

Narec commercial director Richard Morris said: “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 installation of the unit from FLiDAR, a joint venture between 3E and DEME, at Neart na Gaoithe signals a shift away from conventional fixed meteorological masts for assessment of wind resources at offshore wind farms.

Andrew Jamieson, chief executive of the Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult, which is working with Mainstream and its partners to promote the use of floating LiDAR, notes: “This deployment will be instrumental to the UK meeting its offshore renewable energy targets and the resulting reduction in carbon emissions.

Onshore works for the Neart Na Gaoithe wind farm received planning consent farm in June.

A decision on the offshore elements of the firth of Forth development, which will be made up of 72-90 turbines standing in up 54 metres of water, is expected “by the end of this year”.