Bringing Ocean Expertise to Floating Wind
SMI are pleased to have their offshore renewable energy capability featured in Wind Energy News this month.
(SMI) has been drawing on their heritage manufacturing cable systems for submarines to deliver fit and forget data, power and control cabling for ocean renewables. Their advanced thermoplastic moulding techniques have helped deliver long term reliability to a range of wave and tidal projects up to 33.6kV. They are now looking to bring this expertise to bear on floating wind projects.
The 2016 Genillard & Co study identified that subsea cable incidents account for between 70 and 80% of the total global cost of offshore wind farm insurance losses, with 90 subsea cable losses occurring in the prior 7 years, totalling over EUR 350 million in incurred claims. Robustness and reliability are therefore key. Floating wind brings greater challenges particularly around stabilization and mooring and cables are inherently more dynamic.
SMI’s Wet-Mate and Deck-Mate Interconnect Solutions
Unlike offshore wind, ocean power systems are deployed in the most turbid resource conditions. SMI have provided interconnect solutions, both wet-mate and deck-mate to wave and tidal projects in Europe and North America.
For some time now, SMI have been advocating for standardisation in cable design to enable the industry’s subsea connector manufacturers to focus product developments around a rationalised scope, exploiting total industry volumes which remain comparatively small. Technical discussions and collaborative workshops hosted by SMI have enabled rival operators to make collective demands for technical advancements which would have otherwise been deemed commercially non-viable.
Going a step further to encourage early engagement between engineers, SMI has highlighted that decisions on cable design and jacket materials can limit technical options for connectivity, so sharing SMI’s subject matter expertise has helped operators optimise their cable systems considering materials, mating environments, marine logistics as well as electrical and data loads.
Whilst reliable cable interfaces reduce operational and through life costs, early economies can be delivered by rationalising the number of expensive connectors. Utilising glanded systems is one option and SMI used Gisma’s hybrid wet-mating electro-optic connector for a number of renewable power projects where electric and fibre optic matings can be delivered in one rather than two connectors.