26 May 2021

Wind farms at sea are a central component of the energy transition. The FINO platforms provide important data and insights for the further expansion of offshore wind energy.

For almost 20 years, scientists have been conducting research on three research platforms in the North Sea and Baltic Sea (FINO). The aim is to gain comprehensive knowledge for the use of offshore wind power. The platforms offer wind farm operators and wind energy companies the unique opportunity to access on-site measurement data and ecological insights for the operation of offshore wind turbines.

In 2002, the German government decided to build research platforms at sea: FINO1 in the North Sea, 45 kilometres north of Borkum, FINO2 in the Baltic Sea, 40 kilometres northwest of Rügen, and FINO3 in the North Sea, 80 kilometres west of Sylt. All three sites are characterised by the fact that they are located in areas that are particularly suitable for the construction of wind farms. The platforms are operated on behalf of and with the support of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi).

Offshore research: How do wind and sea behave?

In numerous research projects, teams of scientists on the platforms collect long-term information on offshore conditions. For instance, they measure the strength, direction and turbulence of the wind depending on the height and number of wind turbines in the vicinity of the platforms. The researchers also record wave height and propagation as well as the strength of the ocean currents. Other topics include the nature of the seabed and lightning measurements.

In addition to these studies, some teams of scientists also address ecological questions. They investigate, for instance, bird and bat migration, harbour porpoise occurrences or the avoidance of environmental damage, for example through ship collisions.

These studies and data are crucial for the feasibility and economic viability of existing and future wind farms. They provide information on how future wind turbines and wind farms should be designed, built and operated to be as economical and environmentally friendly as possible.

Precise calculation of profitability thanks to database

The FINO database collects all meteorological and oceanographic data and information. All interested parties have free access to the database. This long-term FINO wind data enables wind farm operators to make more accurate profitability calculations. This makes the database the central interface for providing the measurement data collected on the research platforms to companies and research institutions.

In an online workshop organised by the Energy Research Networks, interested parties can learn about the research opportunities on and with the FINO platforms. The event will take place on 16 June. In the approximately two-hour online event, the operators present both the platforms and the database. Scientists from industry and academia provide an insight into representative research projects and the FINO database. There is also the possibility of contacting both the operators of the platforms and Project Management Jülich.

Among other things, EnArgus, the central information system for energy research funding, contains a database of all energy research projects - including this project.