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How Luode streamlines the design and maintenance of offshore wind sites with the Spotter platform

Sofar Ocean

Missed our webinar with Luode Director Antti Lindfors? Access the recording here.

The gist

Luode is a Finnish consultancy that collects ocean data to generate insights for its clients across the marine industry. One of Luode’s focus verticals is offshore wind and, in Finland, the company is a leading provider of ocean data-driven solutions for site developers.

Luode deploys fleets of Sofar Spotter platforms at wind farms throughout the Baltic Sea to gather ocean data at scale. Luode and its clients use Spotter observations to support technical site assessment and design, and to ensure that maintenance visits are conducted as safely and efficiently as possible.

Access to real-time ocean data is critical for Finland’s fast-growing offshore wind industry

Finland is aggressively pursuing offshore wind development opportunities. The Scandinavian nation has started the tendering process for sites along its west coast and aims to have two large-scale offshore wind farms operational by 2028.1 2 Presently, however, just one project has been permitted, with over twenty-five others in the planning or Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) phase.

To move these early-stage projects forward, developers need access to accurate information about the ocean dynamics at each proposed site. This is no easy feat. Finland’s proposed wind farm sites are often tens of kilometers long and located up to 100 kilometers offshore, where metocean data is sparse relative to the data available in nearshore environments. In situ observations, in particular, are historically limited in the open ocean, lowering the spatial resolution of the wave models available to developers. These sites are also located outside the range of reliable cellular service, complicating data accessibility.

Luode helps Finnish developers overcome these challenges using an integrated approach to ocean data collection. They use numerical models, satellite observations, vessel-based surveys, manual sampling, and install an array of marine sensing devices to collect data at and below the surface. To make critical wave observations at each site, Luode relies on Sofar’s Spotter system.

Bolstering short-term operations and long-term assessments at offshore wind sites with Spotter wave observations

Luode deploys 3-5 Spotter buoys at each Finnish offshore wind site. Spotters are durable, cost-effective, self-powered, and rapidly deployable, enabling Luode to efficiently moor them at different locations based on the layout of the wind farm and its cable corridors. This distributed approach is strategic. By mooring numerous Spotters across a vast site, Luode increases the spatial density of observations made, capturing the sometimes stark differences in wave conditions between locations. Each Spotter transmits the wave information it collects — along with wind, sea surface temperature, and barometric pressure data — in real-time via satellite. Luode and its clients access the data remotely using Sofar’s modern dashboard and API.

“Luode chose to use the Spotter system at offshore wind sites because it is practical to deploy, has flexible data transmission options and is self-powered.” - Antti Lindfors, Luode Director

Luode and its partners use Spotter observations to improve the long-term assessment and design of offshore wind sites. For example, if government data collected by a satellite or a distant monitoring station suggests that the wave heights at a proposed site may consistently exceed a dangerous threshold, Luode and a developer would validate this data using the direct observations made by the Spotter systems. If confirmed, Luode and its client may reassess what infrastructure is installed where.

Developers are also legally required to consider the environmental impact that an offshore wind farm could have on the hydrology at a site.3 4 Spotter data can play a role in these assessments by establishing a baseline for future comparison of wave energy distribution across different directions and frequencies.

Spotter data also informs short-term go/no-go decision making for construction and maintenance at offshore wind farms. Luode and a developer can remotely determine if wave conditions are calm enough to greenlight a service visit, increasing the safety and efficiency of high-risk work. The presence of Spotters at multiple locations throughout a site increases the accuracy of these assessments, as data from the device closest to a work site can be prioritized. On longer time scales, Spotter wave observations can inform predictions of how many no-go dates are expected for a given year.

Overall, Luode and its partners use the wave observations made by fleets of Spotter systems to assess, design, and maintain offshore wind sites more effectively.

Luode deploys a Sofar Spotter system at an offshore wind farm in the Baltic Sea.

Accelerating ocean data collection at offshore wind sites with Smart Mooring and Bristlemouth

Luode and other offshore wind service providers have the opportunity to expand the Spotter system to further scale ocean data collection at offshore wind sites. Smart Mooring, which extends the Spotter system underwater, unlocks measurements within the water column, such as subsurface temperature and pressure. Bristlemouth, an open ocean connectivity standard developed by Sofar and its strategic partners, enables plug-and-play hardware capability between the Spotter system and off-the-shelf sensors. 

“We are looking for real-time data transmission systems for water quality and other environmental monitoring. The idea is to use Bristlemouth as a standard protocol for accessing data from remote locations.” - Antti Lindfors, Luode Director

By integrating more devices — all of which use the Spotter buoy as a hub for power and connectivity — offshore wind service providers and developers can quickly increase the size and scope of a site-specific dataset.

To learn more about how the Spotter system can collect ocean data at scale to support offshore wind development, please schedule a demo with the Sofar team.

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