Renewable Energy Applications for Data from the New Reference Facility for Offshore Renewable Energy

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Wednesday, 5 February 2014: 5:15 PM
Room C114 (The Georgia World Congress Center )
William J. Shaw, PNNL, Richland, WA; and A. Clifton and J. W. Cline

In late 2012 the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced the planned development of a new Reference Facility for Offshore Renewable Energy (RFORE). This facility is intended to remove barriers to the development of offshore renewable energy in two ways: (1) to provide a means to validate new measurement technologies for resource assessment and other renewable-energy-related purposes in the environment in which they will be deployed, and (2) to provide a continuing source of observations of the atmosphere and ocean that will support research needed to accurately model winds and turbulence in the rotor plane of anticipated offshore wind turbines. The planned location for the RFORE is on the foundation of the Chesapeake Light Tower, approximately 15 km east of Virginia Beach, Virginia. The facility is being developed in collaboration among staff at the DOE headquarters, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL). NREL is leading the design and construction of the facility and will operate it once it is completed. PNNL is leading the development of the research program and the RFORE's data management facility.

The RFORE will feature a meteorological tower that will provide in situ measurements at multiple levels to at least 100 m above the sea surface. In addition, several remote-sensing systems including lidars and radars will provide atmospheric wind and thermodynamic measurements throughout the marine atmospheric boundary layer and above. Various measures of sea state and sub-surface structure will also be include, and the platform is expected to ultimately incorporate environmental measurements as well. All data collected as part of the core instrumentation for the facility will be discoverable and freely available for download from the data management facility.

During the past year, considerable progress has been made in both the engineering planning for the new facility and in the definition of the instrumentation complement and design of the data management facility. This presentation will review the planned capabilities of the RFORE and describe several of the renewable energy applications for which we expect its data to be used.