Xodus Group, Cathie Associates, and UTEC Geomarine have formed a consortium which will aim to reduce the costs of generating electricity from offshore wind farms in UK waters.
The Carbon Trust’s Offshore Wind Accelerator (OWA), which brings together nine offshore wind developers (DONG Energy, E.ON, Mainstream Renewable Power, RWE Innogy, ScottishPower Renewables, SSE Renewables, Statkraft, Statoil and Vattenfall) in a joint industry project, is working towards reducing the cost of offshore wind by at least 10% by 2015.
Technology challenges are identified and prioritised by the OWA members based on the likely savings and the potential for the OWA to influence the outcomes.
Through the development of the round one and two wind farms, it has become apparent that a disproportionate amount of risk lies within the installation and burial of the power cables. This project will look at the methods and equipment used during the design and specification of installation requirements for export and array cable systems in the offshore wind industry. It aims to reduce risks to the cables during installation and operation, and reduce costs for installation and operation and maintenance activities.
The project will see Xodus Group, Cathie Associates, and UTEC Geomarine work together to look at present survey methodologies and specifications to review whether they are suitable, review the equipment presently used in the offshore wind industry for cable installation and whether the equipment is appropriately specified and fit for purpose.
They will look at the approach to mitigating risk to the cable through the use of the Burial Protection Index (BPI) and, develop a more comprehensive methodology in line with new technology and meeting the demanding requirements of wind farm operators and insurers.
Throughout the project a benchmark wind farm, which includes the key risks identified in the Round 3 wind farms, will be used to perform a cost benefit analysis to confirm the likely reduction in risk profile and potential cost savings offered by the proposals.
Findings will be communicated to the industry as a whole at key renewable energy conferences.
James Hunt, global director for low carbon at Xodus, said: “The consortium has a wealth of experience across the offshore wind and oil and gas sectors, applying industry best practice in the assessment of survey information, assessing cable risk and specifying appropriate equipment in order to reduce the risks for installed offshore infrastructure.
“In addition, we will use our in-house developed value, decision and risk management tools to ensure that all risks and opportunities for mitigation are effectively captured and legislated for in the cost-benefit analysis.”
The work started in November and is anticipated to complete in the issue of a final report in June 2014.