Offshore wind energy is progressing rapidly around Europe. One of the latest initiatives is the installation of multiple wind farms in clusters to share cables and maintenance costs and to fully exploit premium wind resource sites. For siting of multiple nearby wind farms, the wind turbine wake effect must be considered. Synthetic aperture radar (SAR) is an imaging remote sensing technique which offers a unique opportunity to describe spatial variations of wind speed offshore. For the first time an airborne SAR instrument was used for data acquisition over a large offshore wind farm. The aim was to identify the turbine wake effect from SAR-derived wind speed maps as a downstream region of reduced wind speed. The aircraft SAR campaign was conducted on 12 October 2003 over the wind farm at Horns Rev in the North Sea. Nearly simultaneous measurements were acquired over the area by the SAR on board the ERS-2 satellite. In addition, meteorological data were collected. Both aircraft and satellite SAR-derived wind speed maps showed significant velocity deficits downstream of the wind farm. Wind speed maps retrieved from aircraft SAR suggested deficits of up to 20% downstream of the last turbine, whereas satellite SAR-derived maps showed deficits of the order of 10%. The difference originated partly from the two different reference methods used for normalization of measured wind speeds. The detected region of reduced wind speed had the same width as the wind turbine array, indicating a low degree of horizontal wake dispersion. The downstream wake extent was approximately 10 km, which corresponds well with results from previous studies and with wake model predictions. Copyright © 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
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