The Supergen wind research consortium is a group of research centres which undertake research primarily aimed at reducing the cost of offshore wind farming. Research is undertaken to apply the WRF mesoscale NWP model to the field of offshore wind resource assessment to assess its potential as an operational tool. WRF is run in a variety of configurations for a number of locations to determine and optimise a level of performance and assess how accessible that performance might be to an end user. Three studies set out to establish a level of performance at two different sites and improve performance through optimisation of model setup and post processing techniques. WRF was found to simulate wind speed to an appreciable level by reference to similar studies, though performance was found to vary throughout the course of the model runs and depending on the location. An average correlation coefficient of 0.9 was found for the Shell Flats resource assessment at 6-hourly resolution with an RMSE of 1.7ms-1. Performance at Scroby Sands was not at as high a level as that seen for Shell Flats with an average correlation coefficient for wind speed of 0.64 with an RMSE of 2ms-1. A range of variables were simulated by the model in the Shell Flats investigation to test the flexibility of the model output. Wind direction was produced to a moderate level of accuracy at 10-minute resolution while aggregated stability statistics showed the model had a good appreciation of the frequency of cases observed. Areas of uncertainty in model performance were addressed through model optimisation techniques including the generation of two ensembles and observational nudging. Both techniques were found to add value to the model output as well as improving performance. The difference between performance observed at Shell Flats and Scroby Sands shows that while the model clearly has inherent skill it is sensitive to the environment to which it is applied. In order to maximise performance, as large a computing resource as possible is recommended with a concerted effort to optimise model setup with the aim of allowing it to perform to its best ability. There is room for improvement in the application of mesoscale NWP to the field of offshore wind resource assessment but these results confirm an inherent skill in model performance. With the addition of further validation, improvements to model setup on a case by case basis and the application of optimisation techniques, it is anticipated
mesoscale NWP can perform to a level which would justify its adoption operationally by the industry. The flexibility which can be offered relating to spatial and temporal coverage as well as the range of variables which can be produced make it an attractive option to developers if performance of a consistently high level can be established.
A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.