Crown Estate: Met Mast Data Crucial to Offshore Wind Industry

The Crown Estate published a report today, one of the largest of its kind, which compares the data used from satellites against that of meteorological data gathered by offshore masts, which are both used to inform investment and design decisions for offshore wind farms. 

The ‘UK MERRA offshore validation’ study provides fresh insight into whether reanalysis (MERRA – Modern-Era Retrospective Analysis for Research and Applications) data could be used in support of, or in some cases in substitution for, meteorological data gathered by offshore masts. The report found that MERRA absolute wind speeds are not accurate enough to replace mast measurements, but do provide valuable estimates of offshore wind speeds in the project planning stage.

Ian Pritchard, Energy Asset Portfolio Manager at The Crown Estate, said: “The study involved the processing and analysis of wind data from over 20 offshore masts representing more than 85 years of offshore measurements, potentially representing the largest offshore validation of MERRA data ever undertaken.”

Reanalysis data reduces the cost and risk of offshore wind farm development by providing a source of long-term modelled meteorological data that is generally both difficult and expensive to acquire through direct measurement campaigns.

By testing and analysing reanalysis data, wind farm developers can better model and understand how their projects are likely to perform once built. The traditional use of reanalysis data has been to correlate it with actual short-term wind speed measurements from meteorological masts when making the case for a final investment decision.

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Press release; Image: The Crown Estate