Aker pilots world’s first subsea floating-wind power system

Aker Solutions is piloting a Subsea Collector at Norway’s Marine Energy Test Centre, aiming to revolutionize offshore wind farm construction. The technology uses a star-shaped cable configuration, reducing overall cable length, installation, and maintenance costs, potentially saving up to 10% on a 1GW floating wind farm. The project promotes industry collaboration and innovation.

Subsea Collector connects multiple wind turbines electrically in a star configuration. Credit: Aker Solutions
Subsea Collector connects multiple wind turbines electrically in a star configuration. Credit: Aker Solutions

Aker Solutions Partners with METCentre for World’s First Subsea Power System for Cost-Effective Offshore Wind

Norwegian energy sector service provider, Aker Solutions, has recently inked a significant Front-End Engineering and Design (FEED) contract with the Marine Energy Test Centre (METCentre) in Norway. The collaboration aims to pilot a groundbreaking subsea power system technology that holds the promise of substantially reducing costs and simplifying the intricacies associated with offshore wind farms.

Aker Solutions will be contributing the Subsea Collector to METCentre’s offshore wind test area, currently home to two floating offshore wind turbines situated 10 kilometers off the southwestern coast of Karmøy, Norway. The ambitious project plans to expand the test area, adding five more floating offshore wind turbines, starting in 2026.

Subsea Collector: A Novel Approach

The Subsea Collector represents a paradigm shift in connecting multiple wind turbines electrically. Departing from the traditional daisy chain pattern, this innovative technology opts for a star configuration. The benefits are multifaceted, allowing for increased flexibility in offshore wind farm architecture and construction. Notably, the design facilitates a reduction in cable length per turbine and park, leading to less vessel time and installation costs. Preliminary findings suggest potential total cost savings of up to 10% on a 1GW floating wind farm.

Key Components of Subsea Collector

The Subsea Collector comprises a 66kV wet mate connection system and subsea switchgear. Benestad and ABB provide supervisory control and data acquisition for the project. The installation will be executed by Windstaller Alliance, a collaboration between Aker Solutions, DeepOcean, and Solstad Offshore. Additionally, Aker Solutions will be responsible for supplying the static export cable to shore.

Industry Collaboration and Expert Insight

Jo Kjetil Krabbe, Executive Vice President of Power Solutions at Aker Solutions, emphasizes the collaborative nature of the project, stating, “The Subsea Collector is a great example of true industry collaboration. Combining Aker Solutions’ vast subsea experience with our partner’s proven control and connection systems, we aim to solve challenges currently facing the offshore wind sector. We hope this project will result in a field-proven system that can benefit the industry for many years to come.”

Arvid Nesse, CEO of METCentre and Norwegian Offshore Wind, acknowledges the pioneering nature of the project. He notes, “This pioneering project will contribute to shaping the infrastructure in future large-scale floating wind parks. The technology is under development, and the project demonstrates how Norwegian subsea expertise from the oil and gas industry drives innovation forward within floating offshore wind on a global scale.”

Building on Success and Future Prospects

The Subsea Collector system is not a standalone innovation but builds upon the success of similar technologies in large installation projects. Aker Solutions draws on its extensive experience in subsea power solutions, with prior application in projects like Equinor’s Hywind Tampen for floating offshore wind. Krabbe adds, “We are now building upon that expertise to develop equipment and technology for next-generation subsea power systems for more cost-efficient offshore wind developments.”

METCentre’s Role in Norwegian Supply Chain Development

The METCentre, renowned as a world-leading facility for testing marine renewable energy technologies, plays a pivotal role in advancing the Norwegian supply chain. The Subsea Collector pilot project aligns seamlessly with METCentre’s commitment to driving innovation within floating offshore wind on a global scale.

Aker Solutions’ collaboration with METCentre marks a significant stride towards revolutionizing subsea power systems for offshore wind farms. The Subsea Collector’s innovative design and the collaborative efforts of industry players hold the promise of not only reducing costs but also shaping the future infrastructure of large-scale floating wind parks. As the project unfolds, it exemplifies how Norwegian expertise, honed in the oil and gas sector, continues to drive innovation on a global scale within the renewable energy domain.

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Source(s): Inceptivemind; New Civil Engineer

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