A new competition worth up to £300,000 to fast track the development of “next generation” 66 kiloVolt (kV) cables for the offshore wind industry has been launched.
It is part of the Carbon Trust’s Offshore Wind Accelerator (OWA) initiative, which aims to move the sector away from using 33kV cables. OWA developers, which includes DONG Energy, ScottishPower Renewables and Statoil, believe 66kV is the most favourable voltage for future offshore wind farms.
The competition aims to ensure the new cables are developed in time to be used for Round 3 offshore wind projects in the UK. Moving to 66kV brings a number of benefits including the need for fewer substations, reduction of system losses and cutting overall cable requirements, the Carbon Trust said.
It intends to award at least two cable suppliers, based on the lifecycle cost of the cable design and the time to complete qualification of the cable.
Phil De Villiers, Head of Offshore Wind at the Carbon Trust said: “We are helping the industry cut the costs of offshore wind through a number of innovation projects. Developing the next generation of cables will provide a much-needed boost to the economics of offshore wind power and alone can cut costs by around 1.5%. We’ve designed the competition to incentivise cable manufacturers that deliver a qualified product as soon as possible so they can be put to sea by 2015.”