iX Challenge: Offshore Wind Farm Array Cable Monitoring
The Innovation Exchange programme is working alongside Scottish & Southern Electricity Renewables (SSER) to engage innovators to solve the challenge of monitoring health and predicting faults in offshore wind farm array cables.
Successful applicants will be given an opportunity to pitch their innovation to SSER. Selected solution(s) may be trialled at SSER sites, with the possibility of further rollout if trials are successful.
In offshore wind farms, array (inter-turbine) cables are installed in jointed lengths from one turbine to its neighbour, forming a string (collection circuit), which feeds into the offshore substation. Array cable faults are not automatically detected and located; in the event of failure, a visit to the relevant substation is required to confirm failure status. A megger tester (or similar) is connected at the associated substation and used to identify a fault location. All wind turbines on the affected array are then offline until the fault is located, and a repair is implemented. Array cable faults are responsible for the majority (around 80%) of insurance claims in the offshore wind sector and are a significant cause of downtime and lost revenue.
The challenge is to deliver a cost-effective method of monitoring the array cable condition and locating a fault as soon as it has occurred, to minimise downtime of the affected array.
By implementing a solution, the solution provider will begin to gather data on conditions leading to a cable fault. It is expected that it would analyse the collected data to begin to undertake pre-emptive fault prediction. Ideally, the solution should be installed in a non-intrusive manner and can be retrofitted to the array cable system of an operating wind farm.
Metrics which would be beneficial for a system to measure include, but are not limited to:
- Extent of cable burial
- Temperature within the cable
- Movement of cable
- Interface between cable and seabed
Depth of cable measurements are currently performed via multi-beam echosounder (MBES) surveys, approximately once per year. Ability to understand cable depth of burial without the need for these surveys would be an additional benefit.
To calibrate any new technology, cable inspection can be performed via a vessel alongside any trials. (Note: offshore operations will be performed by SSER)
Solutions should allow monitoring from the shore, as far as is practical.
Solutions should be fully deployable commercially within 1 year of competition win.
Entrants to this competition must be:
- Established businesses, start-ups, SMEs or individual entrepreneurs
- UK based or have the intention to set up a UK base
Partnerships and consortia of organisations are welcome to apply to this competition.