Offshore Renewable Energy
Environmental monitoring is a critical factor in the success of an energy capturing device, whether it’s a wind turbine, wave energy converter, or tidal energy converter. Accurate data aids developers in assessing the potential of a location, the positioning of the energy capturing devices, as well as assisting in ongoing operations.
Developers typically work through an initial assessment phase where environmental measurement data is required to pinpoint a location. This data can be acquired from historical sources such as wave watch models, or using in-situ instruments such as wind, wave and current buoys. Buoys provide reliable, highly-accurate, real-time data over a long period of time that allows developers to evaluate the location and make informed decisions about whether to use the site being assessed. The weather data analyzed by oceanographic consultants can be useful in determining if the energy capturing device will stay anchored in place in order to provide long-term energy.
Once the assessment phase is complete and the site has been confirmed, the energy farm is then developed. Given the cost of working in such a harsh environment, accurate environmental weather data is essential to control expenses and protect assets. Knowing the weather in advance from a data buoy transmitting environmental conditions by satellite can save developers time and money during the manufacturing phase.
Once the energy farm is built and in a production stage, it still requires constant monitoring to ensure that the maximum power output is maintained. Monitoring equipment can help developers understand if they are getting the estimated amount of power from their capture device that they were initially expecting.
Environmental monitoring platforms come in a large variety to serve different needs. They also host a wide range of sensors and telemetry devices. Sensors can gather data on winds, waves, currents, atmospheric pressure, air and water temperature, relative humidity and many other parameters.
Types of buoys include, wave and current buoys, meteorological buoys, and wind buoys. As the renewable energy industry begins to develop more offshore resources, it is expected that a significant rise in investment in the ocean monitoring field will occur, with developers relying on these tools to help them improve yields and reduce costs. Environmental monitoring will play a key role in making offshore renewable energy a success in the years to come.