The 3 km Norwegian reanalysis (NORA3) – a validation of offshore wind resources in the North Sea and the Norwegian Sea
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionWind Energy Science. 2021, 6 (6), 1501-1519. 10.5194/wes-6-1501-2021
We validate a new high-resolution (3 km) numerical mesoscale weather simulation for offshore wind power purposes for the time period 2004–2016 for the North Sea and the Norwegian Sea. The 3 km Norwegian reanalysis (NORA3) is a dynamically downscaled data set, forced with state-of-the-art atmospheric reanalysis as boundary conditions. We conduct an in-depth validation of the simulated wind climatology towards the observed wind climatology to determine whether NORA3 can serve as a wind resource data set in the planning phase of future offshore wind power installations. We place special emphasis on evaluating offshore wind-power-related metrics and the impact of simulated wind speed deviations on the estimated wind power and the related variability. We conclude that the NORA3 data are well suited for wind power estimates but give slightly conservative estimates of the offshore wind metrics. In other words, wind speeds in NORA3 are typically 5 % (0.5 m s−1) lower than observed wind speeds, giving an underestimation of offshore wind power of 10 %–20 % (equivalent to an underestimation of 3 percentage points in the capacity factor) for a selected turbine type and hub height. The model is biased towards lower wind power estimates due to overestimation of the wind speed events below typical wind speed limits of rated wind power (u<11–13 m s−1) and underestimation of high-wind-speed events (u>11–13 m s−1). The hourly wind speed and wind power variability are slightly underestimated in NORA3. However, the number of hours with zero power production caused by the wind conditions (around 12 % of the time) is well captured, while the duration of each of these events is slightly overestimated, leading to 25-year return values for zero-power duration being too high for the majority of the sites. The model performs well in capturing spatial co-variability in hourly wind power production, with only small deviations in the spatial correlation coefficients among the sites. We estimate the observation-based decorrelation length to be 425.3 km, whereas the model-based length is 19 % longer.