Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult is asking the offshore wind industry to sign up to a data collection platform that it claims can “vastly reduce” subsea cable failures.
The Electrode platform will track cable failure trends and service downtime, as well as the effectiveness of current methods of monitoring, detection and response.
Subsea cable failures account for the single biggest insurance cost for the offshore wind industry, making up 75-80% of claims in the UK.
It said that on average repairing a failed cable takes two months, costing more than £10m and lost power generation.
To date, efforts to reduce failures have been hampered by a lack of available data.
ORE Catapult said it believes greater collaboration could pave the way for “radical advances” and is calling upon the offshore wind industry to support the Electrode initiative, which will collect data anonymously, while allowing trend analysis to develop.
The programme is being rolled out across Europe initially, with ambitions for it to become a global benchmarking system for offshore wind cable failure in the future.
Funded through the Offshore Wind Innovation Hub (OWIH), Electrode has launched with a workshop organised by ORE Catapult and the Carbon Trust.
Ten offshore wind industry players are now signed up to the programme, together with a major insurance group that covers offshore wind assets. It is being operated in a similar way to ORE Catapult’s SPARTA model.
ORE Catapult Electrode lead Charlotte Strang-Moran (pictured) said: “In order for us to make advancements in cable failure, we need to know what the common issues are and where improvements should be targeted.
“Electrode will very quickly enable us to start identifying key and recurring problems, which will bring huge benefits to the whole industry.
“The anonymous data will provide an accurate trend analysis, helping to accelerate innovation and improvements in reliability, which will reduce the costs of downtime, repairs and insurance.”
Companies like Glasgow’s Synaptec, which has recently collaborated with ORE Catapult on commercialising its light-speed cable fault detection system Refase, will be able to leverage trend analysis for fresh innovations too.
Synaptec managing director Philip Orr the statistical data that Electrode provides will strengthen the business case for better condition monitoring.
“As a result, our technology can support operators to reduce the risk and causes of cable damage through accurate and detailed modeling of subsea cable performance.”
ORE Catapult said it is recruiting for other industry partners, namely wind farm operators, to get involved, emphasising that anonymity and security of commercial data are two of the core principles of the platform.
As with Sparta, owner/operators will anonymously input their data into Electrode’s web-based platform, where they can view the collated, anonymised data from themselves and others through trends and benchmarking.