The use of satellite products to assess spatial uncertainty and reduce life-time costs of offshore wind farms

Zen, Simone and Hart, Edward and Medina-Lopez, Encarni (2021) The use of satellite products to assess spatial uncertainty and reduce life-time costs of offshore wind farms. Cleaner Environmental Systems, 2. 100008. ISSN 2666-7894

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    Managers of offshore wind farms make strategic decisions based on information about site wind speeds and significant wave heights (SWH) available from numerical weather predictions (NWP) or local in-situ measurements. However, the coarse resolution with which such information are available, both in space and time, introduces a high degree of uncertainty into the decision process which in turn may result in higher costs during different stages of offshore wind farm life. The current work investigates how space-borne data describing wind speeds and SWH might be used to quantify spatial uncertainties and support decisions during the design and operation of offshore wind sites. Results have revealed that due to high spatial variance of wind speed, the estimated wind power can differ from that provided by an offshore met mast up to 11%. The methodology proposed for SWH has shown how data collected from distinct satellites can be efficiently interpolated (maximum absolute error observed around 1 m) to generate high-resolute spatial information of sea water surface, regardless of satellite trajectory distributions. The work has provided insights on how the propagation of measurement uncertainty through the wind farm area can affect both management costs and wind energy production over the plant life-cycle.