Variability in wind speeds offshore the UK is significantly lower than previously understood, according to a new study on the UK’s offshore wind resource, carried out by DNV GL on behalf of The Crown Estate.

The new study paves the way for improved project projections which can help bring down the cost of energy, The Crown Estate said.

Historical studies of the inter-annual variability (IAV) of wind speed have focused on measurements from onshore meteorological stations. These studies have created an industry standard estimate of wind speed IAV at 6%, which has been widely adopted across many global markets since the early 90’s.

Study on UK Offshore Wind Variability has now revealed an IAV range of 4-5.5% to be more appropriate across the UK offshore environment.

Understanding wind resource

The Crown Estate’s Matthew Clear said: “This report reveals a significant improvement in our understanding of the UK’s offshore wind resource. We hope that industry will begin to reflect this reduced variability into their assessments to help create a more attractive financing proposition for investors and support continued cost reduction over the long term.”

The revised figure was established through creating new regional wind speed indices for areas of UK offshore waters where wind farm development is taking place. These indices were then used to derive more accurate estimates that were validated against sources of offshore measured data.

Unparalleled access

Marie-Anne Cowan from DNV GL’s Project Development team said: “DNV GL were delighted to work with The Crown Estate and undertake a study into UK offshore wind climate variability, with the intent to reduce the LCoE for future offshore wind projects.

“The Crown Estate’s unparalleled access to wind data within UK offshore waters, coupled with DNV GL’s extensive experience of performing wind resource assessments for UK offshore projects, allowed a unique opportunity to perform a validation of the results presented in the study.

“This is a topic closely aligned with DNV GL’s previous offshore wind work, which includes our Offshore Wind Cost Reduction Manifesto, and we look forward to working together with industry to achieve reduced LCoE for future offshore wind projects.”

The findings have also been presented to the International Electrotechnical Committee (IEC) 61400-15 working group and the UK Wind Resource Group who have both expressed support for the work undertaken, The Crown Estate said.

Illustration (Image source: The Crown Estate)