A1 - Better measurement techniques for forecasting and resource characterisation

A - Resource and Environment Characterisation

Status - published
Last updated on: 12/03/2020


Predictions of the environmental conditions often rely on data from a single point, or sparse locations. This causes uncertainty in the potential energy resource, the loading on devices and the weather windows for offshore operations.


Develop more reliable and rich measurement systems, to quantify the offshore environment, including combinations of wind, wave and current.

Context And Need

Better and more reliable prediction of Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) performance will improve confidence in project financial projections. This can be improved with better and more reliable measurement of the resource. Existing methods for measuring waves and currents are expensive and can be difficult to achieve continuous measurement record from offshore deployments of measurement instruments. Remote measurement methods may be a good alternative if the cost can be reduced and methods made more reliable. Autonomous systems also offer new possibilities for resource measurement. New methods for measurement of combinations of wind, wave, water level and current and for analysis of extreme combinations will allow better prediction of the available ORE and better design and operation of ORE systems.


Measurement of MetOcean data, i.e. wind, wave and current data, including velocity, wave elevation, turbulence data, is necessary to understand the offshore energy resource. Techniques are needed to measure all forms of physical environment data and to take into account the influence of land, accessibility, the need to extrapolate to extreme events, resource variations in time and space, bathymetry and other factors. This data is an essential part of resource assessment, farm planning and prediction of performance.

Impact Potential

This challenge will impact on:

CAPEX, as the resource and environmental conditions will be better understood and therefore the design can be more reliable and less conservative.

OPEX as the available weather windows will be better understood leading to better operations planning.

By making designs more reliable, and operations more efficient, the performance of ORE systems will improve, as well as their longevity. There will also be a reduction in human risk associated with offshore operations.

Research Status

Several methods are generally applied for the resource measurement, e.g.,

  • wave measurements: wave gauges, laser altimeters, pressure sensors, wave rider buoys, ADPs, radar system (like HF radar and X-band radar) and satellite-borne remote sensors (like radar altimeter and SAR);
  • Tidal measurements: ADPs, HF radar and SAR;
  • Wind measurement: wind vanes, wind-cup anemometers, SODAR and LIDAR;
  • Bathymetry measurements: autonomous drones.

Following ongoing projects and information are related:


Supergen ORE Hub - Flexible Fund Research

Flow measurement for accurate tidal turbine design - Lead Institution: University of Bath

A key problem with predicting tidal turbine lifespan is a lack of data on the unsteady flow conditions at tidal sites. This lack of data causes inaccurate calculations of the lifespan of tidal turbines and drives up the cost of tidal power generation. A prototype probe has been designed which can capture small fluctuations in the flow despite the high hydrostatic pressure when the probe is at depth. This project will develop the probe from a laboratory prototype and prove its operation in marine environments paving the way for cheap, detailed site surveys, and better predictions of turbine lifespan.


Links to Industry Priorities


We would also like to invite UK researchers and industry stakeholders within ORE to submit links to research projects, both past and present, for inclusion within the landscape.

Therefore, if you have a UK-based research project within an area of ORE that you feel is relevant to a specific research theme or challenge within the Research Landscape, click HERE to submit your research project to the research landscape


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