Could you help fix the offshore wind cable problem?

A competition to help solve one of the problems plaguing the offshore wind industry has been launched. The Carbon Trust’s Offshore Wind Accelerator (OWA) is searching for a new technology […]

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By Jonny Bairstow

A competition to help solve one of the problems plaguing the offshore wind industry has been launched.

The Carbon Trust’s Offshore Wind Accelerator (OWA) is searching for a new technology that can monitor the condition of wind farms’ subsea cables during installation, a stage in which they are often over-stretched and damaged.

Current equipment can’t detect and measure the mechanical limits of the cables accurately enough and the Carbon Trust is hoping other sectors, such as telecommunications, might know a way around the problem.

The offshore wind industry saw around £213 million in insurance losses between 2002 and 2015. Approximately 68% of these losses were said to be due to cable faults and damage in the construction phase.

Underwater cables can account for up to 11% of the total cost of a wind farm once installation is taken into account so there is a significant amount of money that could be saved.

As offshore wind farms begin to be installed further from the shore in rougher and deeper waters than ever before, the new technology to protect expensive subsea cables is expected to become more important.

Competition entries will be assessed by an expert panel from the OWA. The Scottish Government and nine OWA partners are providing up to £225,000 to support successful innovative concepts.

The most promising concepts could also receive further funding to take them to full-scale demonstration.