Real-Time Monitoring Opens Weather Window for Offshore Wind Farms

Emu's Oceanographic Team has recently developed additional systems to augment their real-time sea-state monitoring to inform operational decisions which will be of significant value to the Round 3 Offshore Wind Developers. Robin Newman, Emu's Principal MetOcean Scientist, recently delivered a paper to the RenewableUK's Offshore Wind Conference in Liverpool UK, outlining the features of the new system.

Wind-generated waves can cause extensive damage to marine structures and endanger lives if poor decisions are taken with respect to "safe to operate" conditions.

Wave measurement is a complex science and understanding wave conditions is of vital importance when making operational decisions in all offshore industries, whether avoiding unnecessary weather downtime, improving health and safety or selecting the most appropriate vessels for local conditions. Emu Limited has been leading research on groundbreaking techniques in real-time wave telemetry, not only to deliver real-time wave data direct to managers but also to improve the quality of the information provided.

During a project undertaken by Emu Limited in conjunction with Nexen Petroleum in the North Sea involving a rig movement, a real-time spectral interface was developed to isolate longer swell energy from locally generated wind waves, allowing real-time visualisation of wave energy at specific sites. This new system provided crucial information beyond the normal forecasted oceanographic parameters, which can allow oil & gas engineers to take advantage of weather windows that would not have been identified previously.

This development of an improved system to monitor real-time wave information is of major importance to offshore wind managers as well as those in the oil & gas industry.

Robin Newman, Emu's Principal MetOcean Scientist, explained:

"As we roll out the real-time monitoring system for differing applications, we are delighted by its successful use in the North Sea. It has proved to be cost efficient as well as having the potential to reduce operational risk by identifying weather windows.

"The latest application for the Spectral Splitting Approach will be a decision making tool for the Offshore Wind Industry with particular relevance to reducing the hazards when attempting to perform complex operations such as transferring from a vessel to fixed structure. Trials have also shown a potential for cost saving for Wind Farm developers."

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