Nexans is honored to be part of the Carbon Trust’s Offshore Wind Accelerator (OWA) program in the UK. Within this program Nexans aims to expand the development of its new 66kV 3-core submarine inter-array cables and accelerate their time to market. The funding allocated to Nexans, worth around 165 k€, came after a competitive bidding process and will be used by the Group to further develop the cable offer for commercial use in offshore wind farms by the end of 2015.
Nexans already supplies export and 33kV inter-array cables to offshore wind developers. Preceding the industry transition towards larger offshore wind farms and more high-power turbines, Nexans has already started to develop 66kV copper conductor inter-array cables and associated 66kV connectors. It will complete the qualification program within a few months. As part of the agreement with the OWA, Nexans will also qualify its 66kV dry design aluminum conductor inter-array cables in order to accelerate the commercialization of the full range of 66kV inter-array cables systems. This is part of the Group’s R&D efforts to meet and anticipate customer demand for wind farm components.
The OWA was formed by the Carbon Trust with the aim of reducing the costs associated with offshore wind energy, particularly in light of the UK government’s commitment to significantly increase offshore wind capacity. It has previously identified high power turbines and consequently 66kV inter-array cables as an area where significant cost savings can be made and awarded the funding accordingly.
The higher voltage 66kV cables allow for greater power capacity with a smaller cross section and lower current, as compared to 33kV cables that have traditionally been used. They also offer cost savings through lower life-cycle costs and optimized intra-array cable layout.
Pierre Kayoun, Vice President Sales & Marketing High Voltage and Underwater Cables Group at Nexans, commented “The award of funding by the Carbon Trust is further confirmation of Nexans’ proven track record in developing innovative new technologies for the offshore wind sector. The funding will allow Nexans to further develop its 66kV cable offering and accelerate its commercialization, which will benefit the whole industry and ultimately drive greater capacity in offshore wind.”
Megan Smith, Electrical Systems Project Manager at Offshore Wind Accelerator, added: “Moving to 66kV intra-array networks offers a great opportunity to cut costs in time for Round 3 offshore wind farms. But the industry faced a classic chicken and egg problem. Cable manufacturers were unwilling to invest in the certification process of a new cost effective 66kV cable without knowing if there is demand, and developers can’t specify a new array cable voltage when cables are not yet certified. The Carbon Trust’s OWA has resolved this by enabling the cable industry to work with the offshore wind sector to develop a solution that will benefit all.”
The cables are currently being tested in Nexans’ Hannover plant with results expected to be released early 2015 and products ready for commercialization later in the year.