Using sensors to collect North Sea data from new wind farms

Collecting North Sea data from new wind farms

Rijkswaterstaat has linked a data-collection programme at the North Sea to the construction of offshore wind farms for the energy transition.

The Maritime Information Provision Service Point (MIVSP) delivers valuable data relating to the North Sea, ranging from wind speeds and wave heights to the location of migrating birds and bats, for numerous clients.

While TenneT, the manager of the electricity grid, is responsible for the platforms and connecting them to the grid, Rijkswaterstaat is taking charge of the collection and provision of information by installing the sensors to gather the relevant data, connecting them to onshore telecommunication networks and distributing the data to the relevant stakeholders.

Great diversity of North Sea data

The MIVSP contains various systems, including nautical radars and AIS and VHF sensors to monitor the safety of shipping, as well as meteorological systems (wind, precipitation and temperature meters) for the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute (KNMI). There are also ecological monitoring systems for birds and bats. In short, the MIVSP generates data that we can use to keep the North Sea safe, sustainable and accessible.

Procurement of sensors

The project is being carried out by a consortium of public and semi-public organisations. A tender procedure is organised to select the party that will build a particular wind farm. The bidder that submits the best plan wins the contract. Once construction of the wind farm commences, it is important to ensure that the contractor fully complies with the rules. That task is performed by Rijkswaterstaat itself, in association with State Supervision of Mines (Staatstoezicht op de Mijnen).

Platforms built in the Netherlands and Dubai

The first 2 platforms (for Borssele Alpha and Borssele Beta) were built in Schiedam in the Netherlands and have already been installed in the North Sea.

The next 2 platforms (for Hollandse Kust Zuid and Noord) were built in Dubai. Rijkswaterstaat’s employees and members of the project team in Dubai jointly managed the design of the 1 platform on a week by week basis using a 3D model. The use of this technology enabled Rijkswaterstaat to effectively manage and monitor the construction process. The platform for Hollandse Kust Zuid was completed in 1 July 2020 and will be transported to the North Sea by april 2021.

Collaboration as a priority

Data is already being transmitted to shore from the first 2 platforms. The collaboration between market parties and public authorities has been crucial in that context and will continue during the construction of the remaining platforms.

Rijkswaterstaat is carrying out this project for the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy.