Norwegian oil and gas giant Equinor has announced the launch of a wind research buoy in the waters off New York to gather information about the optimal section within the New York Bight for offshore or floating wind.
It is the latest in a series of data collection projects, from Martha’s Vineyard off Massachusetts to the New Jersey coast, as Equinor designs turbine arrays.
Equinor Wind US said the buoy would be in place for two years.
The Flidar (floating light detection and ranging) device will measure wind speed, direction, wave conditions and other marine characteristics for the eventual development of the wind farm.
“The deployment of this specialised buoy marks another step forward in the multiyear process of bringing a reliable source of renewable energy to the New York-New Jersey area,” said Christer af Geijerstam, president of Equinor Wind US. “Offshore wind power today is made possible by a host of innovative technologies, from larger and more efficient turbines to sophisticated Flidar systems like this that enable us to gauge invaluable information about the characteristics of this offshore lease area.
“The Flidar itself is an example of renewable energy innovation,” he said. “The floating system, using solar panels, wind turbines and large batteries in its hull, can operate autonomously throughout a full winter season offshore New York.
“Access to good quality wind recordings like those provided by the Flidar system is essential to the development of any wind energy project today. It’s yet another example of the technological innovation that Equinor is bringing to offshore wind development in New York.”
Equinor Wind US won a federal lease auction of 32,400 hectares south of New York and east of New Jersey in 2016 to develop Empire Wind in New York and Boardwalk Wind in New Jersey.
In December, Equinor spent US$135 million on a lease area off the Massachusetts coast, east of New York.
Equinor says it plans to provide renewable power to over 2 million homes.
The bid was more than three times as much as Equinor paid for its Empire Wind tract, a signal of escalating interest in the US offshore wind, according to the US authorities.
The firm, formerly known as Statoil before rebranding in May last year, says it powers more than 1 million
European homes with wind power from four projects in the UK and Germany. In 2017 Equinor opened Hywind (pictured), the world’s first floating offshore wind farm, off the northeast coast of Scotland, which could be copied around the world.
Equinor is also developing offshore wind in coal-dependent Poland and solar in Brazil and Argentina.
Hywind near Peterhead in Scotland. Picture credit: YouTube