US DOE Launches LiDAR Buoy Loan Program

The US Department of Energy (DOE) has implemented a loan program to lend its LiDAR buoys to qualified parties to acquire wind resource characterization data in areas of interest for offshore wind energy development.

DOE currently owns two AXYS WindSentinel buoys that collect meteorological and oceanographic data to support resource characterization for offshore wind energy.

In response to several inquiries and unsolicited proposals, DOE’s Wind Energy Technologies has started the loan program.

DOE’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) manages the loan program and will periodically advertise requests for applications (RFAs) where interested parties are invited to submit applications to borrow the buoys.

The first RFA was sent out in December of 2016 via a posting to Future RFA announcements will also be posted there, PNNL said.

PNNL will proactively work with interested parties to enable the loan of the LiDAR buoys. The loan program framework is based on the assumption that borrowing partners will deploy the buoys for approximately one year to support data collection and analysis over an annual weather cycle.

Partners will assume complete responsibility for the funding, deployment logistics, maintenance, and safe retrieval of each buoy over the duration of the loan. Borrowers will be required to return the buoy to DOE in the same functional condition in which they received it.

Neither PNNL nor DOE will provide funds to the borrowers of the buoys to support their proposed deployment. PNNL does not intend to closely manage the buoy deployments; however, there are key decision gates where the selected partner will be expected to provide documentation and participate in discussions to demonstrate readiness to move on to the next stage. PNNL and DOE stakeholders will participate in these reviews and concurrence to proceed is required.

The two buoys were delivered to PNNL in September, 2014. After acceptance testing and initial performance testing and evaluation at PNNL’s Marine Sciences Laboratory in Sequim, Washington, the buoys have been deployed off the US East Coast.

One buoy was deployed approximately 42 km east of Virginia Beach, Virginia from December, 2014 through June, 2016. The second buoy was deployed approximately 5 km off Atlantic City, New Jersey in November, 2015.

The data produced by the buoys represent the first publicly available multi-seasonal hub-height data to be collected in US coastal waters.

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