Electrical Infrastructure

Electrical Infrastructure

Cable arrays, offshore electrical infrastructure, and medium and high voltage transmission cables make up roughly 14% of offshore wind’s levelised cost of energy. Between 8,000 km and 12,500 km of inter array cabling is associated with Round 3 offshore wind developments, making cost reduction a priority.

Reliability considerations are also highly important for cables and power electronics. Failure in an array or transmission cable could disable multiple turbines, leading to lost revenue while awaiting repair. For power electronics, the swappable modular design philosophy applied to onshore wind power electronics is unsuitable for offshore applications since the distant and weather-dependent offshore environment make this approach to repairs too expensive. We are therefore aiming to address the overall system availability, robustness and cost concerns through our activity in this area.

Decisions taken early in the design stage of offshore transmission systems are acknowledged to lock in significant challenges arising later on in projects. A proper feedback into early stages of design of the issues arisen during installation and operation is therefore a necessary step in our way to reduce transmission costs by 20-30% by 2020.

Test facilities

Our electrical test capabilities allow us to provide a more rounded offer to the offshore renewables industry. The facilities include laboratories for materials, mechanical and environmental tests, plus substantial high voltage capabilities and a low voltage power network facility. Our facilities currently provide accelerated aging, type testing and fault finding services. Our testing priorities include:

  • proving and certifying 66kV inter array collector networks, which are required for Round 3 offshore wind farms as well as other live offshore wind tenders;
  • cable testing around design of novel cable concepts, which adds value to collection and transmission work already underway in the sector;
  • using our dry dock facilities to support the development and trialling of new cable pull-in methods and the design of components for the vessel hang-off interface.

Research & development

We aim to perform innovation activity in this area around:

  • power converter health monitoring system development support;
  • electrical and electronics equipment and systems design;
  • medium and high voltage dynamic cable systems with associated mooring, connecting and protection accessories;
  • sharing lessons learned and good practice in offshore transmission;
  • techno-economic evaluation of transmission technologies close to the market.

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