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Ethernet Direct Corporation, a provider of industrial networking and communication solutions, has made a number of deployments relating to renewable energy, such as in wind farm applications.

According to the company, individual turbines are interconnected with a typical medium-voltage 34.5kV power collection system and communications network.

At a substation, this medium-voltage electrical current is increased in voltage with a transformer for connection to the high-voltage transmission system.

A large wind farm may consist of a few dozen to several hundred individual wind turbines and may cover an extended area of hundreds of square miles.

Ethernet Direct has a number of wind farm applications involving onshore, near shore and offshore.

An example of onshore application is deployed in North America wherein wind power installations used PLC systems to link each other and were then connected to industrial Ethernet equipment.

An onshore turbine installation requires rugged outdoor switches and Ethernet Direct HME-623 and RUE-113 devices offer industry-compliant protection with a high level of immunity against electromagnetic interferences and power supply surges.

An offshore project was deployed using HUG-628G running 70km-long distances in northern Europe, installed in a full-scale floating windmill combining technology from both the wind and oil-and-gas industry, also called the next-generation wind technology.

The project combines known technologies in a completely new setting and opens up the possibility for the wind industry to capture the wind energy within deep-water environments.

The floating structure consists of a steel jacket filled with ballast.

This floating element will extend 100m beneath the surface and will be fastened to the seabed by three anchor piles.

The wind turbine can be placed at ocean depths of between 120m and 700m.

The windmill will be placed on top of the submerged structure and will then stand 65m above sea level to the centre of the turbine.

The turbine has a diameter of 82m and a peak production capacity of 2.3MW.

Ethernet technology is installed for long-distance monitoring, centralised control and operating capabilities in harsh environments where the wind power farms are usually located.

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