New competition to improve offshore wind cabling

The Carbon Trust’s Offshore Wind Accelerator (OWA) has launched a new competition to improve the monitoring of cables for offshore wind farms.

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Submarine cables account for around seven per cent of the cost of wind farms, with their installation making up another four per cent. But according to the Carbon Trust, cable faults that occur during the construction phase of offshore farms lead to almost 70 per cent of insurance losses. The OWA is running the competition to encourage new monitoring solutions that will allow operators to detect these faults earlier, preventing bigger and more costly failures.

“Damage to cables during the installation of an offshore wind farm is unfortunately a common occurrence, which also results in unnecessary expenditure for the industry,” said Jan Matthiesen, director of Offshore Wind at the Carbon Trust.

“The challenge we face is finding a cost-effective, easy to connect and operate, robust and reliable system which can be used to monitor the condition of subsea cables throughout the cable installation phase. Through this international innovation competition we are really interested in receiving applications from other industries around the world, which have capabilities in measuring and monitoring physical parameters that could result in cable damage.”

The OWA is a joint industry project backed by the Scottish government. It currently involves nine offshore wind developers who collectively represent over three-quarters of Europe’s installed capacity, including Dong Energy, SSE, Statoil and Vattenfall.

As current solutions to the cabling problem do not meet industry needs, the OWA is looking to sectors such as telecommunications, oil and gas, civil engineering and automotive in a bid to find a new approach. The Scottish Government and industry partners are providing up to £225,000 to support successful innovative concepts, and additional funding could also be available to take promising concepts to full-scale demonstration.

The competition closes on February 13th 2017, and further information can be found here.