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World’s First Advanced Offshore Wind Power Radar System Now Operational

DONG Energy and SmartWind Technologies have announced that the world’s first radar for offshore wind power is now delivering three-dimensional (3D) data on the wind flow in the Westermost Rough Offshore Wind Farm region.


This is a ‘first of its kind’ project, and according to DONG Energy, “represents a paradigm shift in wind measurements.” The advanced radar system, named BEACon (beamed radar for energy assessment and site conditions), provides 3D data of the way in which the wind flows around the 210 MW Westermost Rough Offshore Wind Farm, measuring the wind conditions up to 35 kilometres out from the coast. DONG Energy explains how the technology is working:

“The BEACon radars emit radio waves in a narrow beam, which is scanned across the wind power plant. As the radio waves are scattered by particles carried by the wind, their frequencies are slightly shifted. This is called the ‘Doppler shift’, and it allows us to determine the wind speed and the wind direction. One single radar cannot distinguish between the wind speed and the wind direction. We need two radars separated by several kilometres to get the full picture.”

dong-13The BEACon program is expected to be in service to Westermost Rough for 18 months, at which point the radars will be moved to another location. However, DONG Energy is already receiving tremendous amounts of data — each week the volume of data received exceeds Wikipedia in size — and the company is already learning about how wind turbines affect wind patterns. According to DONG Energy, BEACon has already documented the way in which wind turbines shadow one another, and how these wakes develop behind the wind power plant. Specifically, these results provide “new insights into the complexities of wind flow through and around an offshore wind power plant. By knowing how the wind varies through the wind power plant, we can better predict the power output of the wind turbines.”

“This is a huge step forward for wind insights,” explained Nicolai Gayle Nygaard, BEACon Technical Manager at DONG Energy. “We’re getting minute-by-minute 3D images of the wind flow through the wind power plant. This is a game changer for the industry. We’re no longer limited to measuring the wind at just one point, now we can document the wind field across the entire wind power plant and coastal domain. Conventional measurement technologies are like using a torch in a dark room – you have a limited view. With the new radars, the entire room is flooded with light. We get new insights that provide valuable information for the design and operation of future wind power plants.”


“SmartWind Technologies has provided an advanced hardware and software solution to measure the complex flows at the Westermost Rough wind power plant and to reduce the generated complex data fields into a user-friendly format,” added John Schroeder, Co-Founder of SmartWind Technologies. “The acquired data will facilitate long-term studies and aid real-time decision-making. Application of this new capability will undoubtedly drive down the cost of wind energy, and we’re proud to help DONG Energy achieve this goal.”

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