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First UK coastal lidar test site yields outstanding results

Published 18 February 2019

Wood has successfully completed the first commercial lidar test at the Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult’s new UK test and verification facility, with outstanding results.

The 7MW Levenmouth Demonstration Turbine’s onshore met mast, located on the Fife coast and operated by ORE Catapult, is the only open access facility in the UK that offers the opportunity to test, demonstrate and verify up to four lidar systems at any one time against high quality, representative offshore wind resources. The test site was developed with support from the Scottish Government.

The test of Wood’s Galion lidar system was completed ahead of schedule, in one month rather than the planned three-month test programme, due to the abundant natural wind resource at the Levenmouth site. The quality of the data gathered allowed the engineering company to fully fill its ‘data bin’ and verify its equipment, gaining confidence in the accuracy of the technology.

Chris Hill, ORE Catapult’s Operational Performance Director, said: “The unique position of the Levenmouth Demonstration Turbine and its met mast, being classed as an offshore wind turbine but accessible from the shore, means the wind resource is excellent and typically representative of what developers might experience offshore.

“The combination of highly reliable meteorological data and Catapult lidar test and verification specialists makes our unique facility ideal for developers to test and verify their remote sensor technologies for both onshore and offshore needs. Our site represents the only coastal location in the UK that offers lidar verification services, enabling Levenmouth to become a premier location for lidar testing in Europe, and the outstanding success of this first commercial test means we are now fully open for business.”

Alan Mortimer, Wood’s director of innovation, said: “Wood is delighted to have had the opportunity to access ORE Catapult’s new lidar test facility at the Levenmouth Demonstration Turbine site. The test facility offers a unique, controlled and secure location otherwise not available in Scotland to allow the testing of remote sensing equipment.

“Installing met masts for monitoring environmental conditions at new offshore renewable installations is time-consuming and expensive. Lidar presents a more cost-effective option for developers, providing comprehensive and accurate data that meets the needs of investors whilst also supporting design optimisation and cost of energy reduction. To satisfy international standards lidar units are typically verified at high quality test facilities and the Catapult’s test facility in Levenmouth is the ideal location to carry out this verification.

“We are extremely grateful to be the first company to utilise the test site for the performance verification of one of our Galion Lidar G250 models, which achieved an excellent pass. We envisage many more lidar performance verifications at this test site in the months and years ahead.”

The Levenmouth test site complements the Catapult’s existing offshore floating lidar verification service using its Offshore Anemometry Hub (NOAH), 3nm off the coast of Blyth, Northumberland. Leading industry players such as Axys and EOLOS have all successfully demonstrated their technologies at NOAH.