Nicolas Fournier, at the Met Office, explains to PES the crucial role that weather forecasting and analysis plays in site selection, planning, operations and safety within the offshore renewable-energy market.
Over the last five years the Met Office has placed a particular focus on supporting the offshore wind industry, as a key contributor to the growing renewable-energy market. Forecasting and hindcasting play a crucial role in helping project developers generate energy profitably and at a cost which is competitive to other sectors.
There have been a number of challenges in the sector, including downward trends in market support, uncertain policy frameworks and less attractive incentive mechanisms which has led to some projects being delayed or cancelled. There is also a strong industry focus on bringing down the cost per MWh of energy generated from offshore wind – therefore, forecasting and hindcasting play a central role for developers increasingly investing in and utilising more accurate and intricate climate and weather services, such as those offered by the Met Office.
However, it is still a very positive time for the industry, with a number of large-scale developments on the horizon and the UK Government’s budget announcement of £730m support for renewable projects.