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Offshore Wind Subsea Power Cables: Installation, Operation and Market Trends

Published 31 August 2018

By the end of 2018, installed offshore wind power capacity will reach a total of 30.2GW, with 22.9GW of generation in Europe and 7.3GW across the rest of the world. The UK remains the global leader in offshore wind, with a total capacity of 6,385MW and an additional capacity of 3.2GW entering operation by 2020. As the industry’s generation capacity continues to grow, so does the need for developing reliable, high-capacity transmission cable technologies.

Subsea power cable failure is frequently reported as an issue for offshore wind farm operators. Such failures are reported to account for 75-80% of the total cost of offshore wind insurance claims – in comparison, cabling makes up only around 9% of the overall cost of an offshore wind farm. A lack of available data on cable failures led ORE Catapult to develop an interactive tool for internal use, which captures information about UK offshore wind projects and their power cables’ lifecycle from the installation to the operational phase.

This paper summarises some of the most pertinent insights on cable failures gleaned from the Catapult’s use of the tool and sets forth suggestions on how to improve knowledge-sharing in the offshore wind community to reduce the impact of future failures.

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