South Korea has ambitious plans to develop 12GW of offshore wind capacity by 2030. To support this growing demand, Equinor is planning to develop the floating offshore wind project Firefly.
Over the next year, a feasibility study into the viability of wind resource will be conducted. RPS was engaged to deliver two Floating LiDAR buoys to collect the data that will determine future investment decisions. Over this past weekend they were deployed into the East Sea from Ulsan, marking a significant project milestone.

Commenting on the launch, RPS Managing Director Energy AAP, Murray Burling said, “To ensure the commercial viability of an offshore wind farm, our clients need reliable resource data to support their project feasibility assessment.

“Developing a design that maximises data accuracy and return through reliability, while making the process of information gathering easier, safer and more cost-effective for our clients, is our primary concern.”

Equinor Managing Director and Country Office Manager for South Korea, Jacques-Etienne Michel said: “We are pleased to see the Floating LiDARs being deployed. The data gathered through this feasibility study will be important to determine the way forward for what could be Asia’s first floating offshore wind farm. To get there, we are looking forward to collaborating with all partners as we see strong potential in developing offshore wind in South Korea.”

The buoys will be moored some 80 km offshore of Ulsan for the next year, collecting wind and wave data to determine the resource viability. Data will be transmitted every 10 minutes via satellite communications.

The RPS Floating LiDAR 4.5 buoy design is environmentally friendly and Level 2 Certified qualifying them to collect bankable wind resource data for clients.

“Design and construction of our buoy utilises decades of experience,” says Greg Bush, RPS General Manager MetOcean AAP. “Our design has proven robust, providing 100% data return in all conditions. During deployments around the world, our buoys have operated through a variety of weather conditions including severe winter storms. For example, mean winds reached 50 knts during deployment off Australia; waves exceeded 9 m in the North Sea; and air temperature off New York dipped to -15°C. And more recently, soon after deployment a late June storm occurred off the coast of Ulsan – with winds peaking at 39 knts and wave height recorded at over 9 m. Our electronics are yet to miss a 10-minute transmission due to the robustness of our design, components and system redundancy.”