The Carbon Trust, as part of its Offshore Wind Accelerator (OWA), has launched a new competition to fast track the development of new 66kV cables to be used by the offshore wind industry. The goal is to ensure that new 66kV cables are developed in time to be used on Round 3 projects in the UK. Moving from 33kV to 66KV brings a number of benefits including the need for fewer substations, reduce system losses and cutting overall cable requirements.
OWA developers DONG Energy, E.ON, Mainstream Renewable Power, RWE Innogy, ScottishPower Renewables, SSE Renewables, Statkraft, Statoil and Vattenfall, representing 77% (36GW) of the UK's licenced capacity, believe that 66 kV is the optimal intra-array voltage for future offshore wind farms. They would like to use 66 kV in commercial projects as soon as possible - preferably before 2015.
The competition will reward cable suppliers designing and qualifying 66kV cables. The intention is for funding of up to £300k to be awarded to at least two cable suppliers, based on the lifecycle cost of the cable design and the time to complete qualification of the cable. The OWA developers will use the information from the 66 kV cable qualification competition to inform cable procurement for future 66kV wind farms.