Ocean Tech Services Deploys LIDAR Buoy for Offshore Wind Project Research off New Jersey

During May 2013, Ocean Tech Services, LLC (OTS) successfully deployed a state-of-the-art floating-LIDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) buoy 11 miles off the coast of Ocean City, NJ for offshore windfarm developer Fishermen’s Energy. Fishermen’s will use the WindSentinel™ to collect wind data for resource assessment in anticipation of developing a commercial-scale windfarm in the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) waters of New Jersey.

Fishermen's Energy WindSentinel™.

Fishermen’s Energy WindSentinel™.

The WindSentinel™ buoy, manufactured by AXYS Technologies Inc. (Sydney, BC Canada), is a floating platform that utilizes an innovative LIDAR technology to measure wind speed and direction at six heights up to 150 meters (492 feet) high, corresponding to the rotor swept area of wind turbines. In addition to the LIDAR data, the WindSentinel™ buoy collects wind data using traditional anemometry, along with air and water temperature, relative humidity, visibility, ocean wave and current data, and detects the presence of birds and bats. Performance of the WindSentinel™ system will be monitored daily and inspected monthly by OTS personnel for the duration of the deployment.

Directly prior to its commissioning in Federal waters, the WindSentinel™ was positioned in close proximity to the Atlantic City coast for a two-month LIDAR validation campaign. With vessel and diver support from Northstar Marine (Clermont, NJ), OTS first recovered the mooring system from the validation site and then towed the buoy approximately 12 miles to the deployment site, presently leased for research activities from the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM). The mooring consisting of a 15,000 pound concrete anchor and 1.5 inch stud-link chain were deployed in 75 feet of water on the coordinates after gaining authorization from BOEM. This deployment project, led by OTS field specialist Ben Riker, was performed using two vessels, a 85 foot barge, and an excavator.

The 1.5" stud-link chain was laid out across the deck of the barge. This picture shows the chain being lowered into the water.

The 1.5″ stud-link chain was laid out across the deck of the barge. This picture shows the chain being lowered into the water.

The buoy coordinates defined by BOEM were pre-marked using the small orange buoy. This picture was taken seconds after the concrete anchor was pushed off the barge.

The buoy coordinates defined by BOEM were pre-marked using the small orange buoy. This picture was taken seconds after the concrete anchor was pushed off the barge.