OSCAR

Space data as a service
  • SPACE DATA AS A SERVICE

Space Data for Offshore Wind Farm and Vessel Management

The offshore wind industry, long touted as a cornerstone of the global transition to sustainable energy, is growing rapidly. GWEC Market Intelligence expects that over 380 GW of new offshore wind capacity will be added over the next decade (2023-2032), bringing total offshore wind capacity to 447 GW by the end of 2032.  

 

Why Offshore? 

Offshore wind farms contribute to the diversification of energy sources, reducing reliance on fossil fuels. This diversification is crucial for creating a more resilient and sustainable energy mix, helping to mitigate the impacts of climate change. Offshore wind farms generate electricity without emitting greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide. This helps reduce overall carbon emissions and combat climate change by providing a clean and renewable energy source. 

This upward trajectory is also catalysed by several other advantageous pull factors. Offshore wind farms typically have higher capacity factors, meaning they generate a larger proportion of their maximum potential power output. This is due to the more consistent and stronger wind resources found at sea, resulting in more reliable electricity generation.  

In densely populated areas, finding large, unobstructed spaces for onshore wind farms can be challenging due to competing land uses and visual and noise impacts. Offshore wind farms provide an alternative solution to land constraints, utilizing expansive offshore spaces without competing with other land-based activities.  

They are scalable, these farms can be expanded to accommodate growing energy demands. They also enhance energy security by diversifying the sources of power generation and reducing reliance on imported energy. 

With technological advancements in offshore wind turbine technology, floating platforms, and installation methods have made it more feasible and cost-effective to harness wind energy in deeper waters. This has expanded the potential locations for offshore wind farms. 

Space Data for Vessel Management and Offshore Wind Farms 

OSCAR

Our space data service, OSCAR, will combine weather data, ship tracking data & met ocean data to offer truly unique dataset for offshore wind farm operators and stakeholder alike. 

By combining the various space based EO datasets from AAC Clyde Space satellites with ancillary data required for wind farm management within a decision-making platform, OSCAR will provide a comprehensive situational awareness across wind farm sites service that offers benefits over existing products on the market.

This service designed comprises of two main elements

Surveillance 

Monitoring of maritime activity within and around wind farm sites as well as yaw misalignment to inform the need for service and guard vessel deployment. It will provide situational awareness for maintenance ship operators with met ocean data, weather forecast and vessel tracking data. 

Planning  

Including met ocean data, weather forecasts and vessel tracking to support planning and ensure vessels are in the right place at the right time This data will be incorporated within decision-making tools to ensure useability for the operators. The solution will drive efficiency, improve productivity, and promote improved safety of operations. 

Our service will provide situational awareness for maintenance ship operators with met ocean data, weather forecast and vessel tracking data. The service will monitor wind farm site vessels, using AIS and SAR, and yaw misalignment of the wind turbines. 

What Are the Offshore Operational Challenges? 

While offshore wind power is more difficult and expensive than land-based engineering, the greater abundance and consistency of offshore wind offsets these difficulties.  

The design, manufacture and operation of offshore wind assets have their own set of challenges including corrosion, fatigue, erosion, lightning strikes and biofouling. Addressing these challenges and maintaining the operational availability of offshore wind turbines will become increasingly important as the reliance on offshore wind energy grows. 

The distance to shore of modern wind farms continues to increase with rough seas and longer journey times making work extremely demanding and the logistics of construction and maintenance of offshore infrastructure is complex. To effectively plan for construction and O&M activities, accurate weather, vessel management and tracking, and met ocean data is required. 

Guard vessels are also needed to ensure that project sites are free from other maritime traffic, including fishing, that make risk safety or damage subsea infrastructure. As engineering develops larger turbines, able to generate more power, these must be spaced further apart and so the areas to be covered are progressively increasing. The growth in both new installations and operational capacity is creating a rapidly rising demand on the vessels and crews used to install and maintain wind farms. 

OSCAR

Offshore operations, including wind farms, are highly dependent on weather conditions. This data is needed to monitor weather patterns, including storms, high winds, and other adverse conditions that could impact vessel operations and the safety of offshore structures. 

Addressing these operational challenges requires a combination of advanced technology, effective planning, and ongoing collaboration between project developers, operators, and service providers. Continuous innovation and improvements in maintenance strategies and technology will play a crucial role in optimising the performance and sustainability of offshore wind farms throughout their operational life.  

Collating data to address all these challenges has proven to be a challenge in itself. AAC Clyde Space are developing a space-based approach to meet this data driven demand. 

OSCAR Addresses Operational Challenges

The Offshore wind farm developers and operators are faced with several challenges with the current data streams available for weather and met ocean parameters, one such challenge is the significant financial cost. OSCAR will aim to improve the resolution of the data as well as reducing costs to access the data.   

Together with planning information, including met ocean data, weather forecasts and vessel tracking, OSCAR will ensure safety of operations and reduce maintenance costs by ensuring the idle time of vessels is limited as well as minimising turbine downtime to provide more yield from turbines and maximise revenue generation.    

Safety of operations, for staff and equipment, is an important consideration for operators. During construction, assets and associated vessels are vulnerable to accidental damage caused by other maritime users, this is particularly pertinent during the period where cables are being laid and connected. Site security and resilience are therefore also key issues. Current means of tracking maritime vessels within the wind farm consist of installing a radar system on the turbines and by patrolling the area with guard vessels. OSCAR will create a service to track offshore vessels which have the potential to damage assets within the wind farms and will offer lower CAPEX as no radar is needed on the turbine.  

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