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December 09, 2015

Wind Measurement Buoy Advances Offshore Wind Energy

The United States is a step closer to harnessing the vast amount of potential wind energy available offshore. The Energy Department recently deployed the AXYS WindSentinel buoy, one of two owned by the Energy Department, off the coast of Atlantic City, New Jersey. The vessel can operate autonomously and is uniquely equipped with instrumentation to help researchers gather necessary data needed to plan future offshore wind deployments.

As a new U.S. renewable energy frontier, limited information is available about ocean-based wind resources, especially at the heights at which wind turbines operate. One of the key instruments on top of the buoy is a LiDAR (light detection and ranging) device that shoots a series of lasers 650 feet into the sky and measures their reflection to characterize wind speeds at various altitudes. The buoy also uses additional meteorological and oceanographic instruments that record air and sea surface temperature, barometric pressure, relative humidity, wave height and period, water salinity, and subsurface ocean currents. In December 2014, researchers from Pacific Northwest National Laboratory deployed the first specialized Energy Department buoy near Virginia Beach, Virginia. For the complete story, see the EERE Blog.

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