The wind resource offshore is generally larger than at geographically nearby onshore sites, which can offset the higher installation, operation and maintenance costs associated with offshore wind parks. Successful offshore wind energy development relies to some extent on accurate prediction of wind resources, but since installing and operating a meteorological mast in situ is expensive, prospective sites must be carefully evaluated. Accordingly, one can conceptualize the wind resource assessment process as a two-phase activity: (i) an evaluation of wind resources at the regional scale to locate promising wind farm sites and (ii) a site specific evaluation of wind climatology and vertical profiles of wind and atmospheric turbulence, in addition to an assessment of historical and possibly future changes due to climate non-stationarity. Phase (i) of the process can involve use of in situ observations of opportunity derived from ships, lighthouses and buoys in conjunction with model tools and remote sensing products. The reliability of such data sources has been extensively investigated in different national and European projects especially in Northern Europe, and the results are summarized herein. Phase (ii) of the project often still requires in situ observations (which may or may not be supplemented with ground-based remote sensing technologies) and application of tools to provide a climatological context for the resulting measurements. Current methodologies for undertaking these aspects of the resource assessment are reviewed.
- Wind energy