Some estimates state that around 80% of insurance claims from wind farm operators have been cable-related. This includes array cables and export cables. Various cable faults occur every year causing repair and replacement costs and potential downtime. These failures are having a huge impact on the flow and cost of energy to market.

 

The wind industry has generally used static cables in its installations because they are cheaper than dynamic cables, but the early installations had no requirement to accommodate movement and cable designs had been left unchallenged.

 

One of the most common threats to wind farm cable integrity is fatigue damage and over-stress due to cables spanning between the entry to the monopile structure (usually at the J-tube) and the seabed burial point. Surveys have shown scour pits can be over 8 m deep and may have radial extents of over 16 m. This creates a cable span through the water column exposed to fast currents, inevitably leading to issues with overbending, fatigue, and high stress concentrations.

 

The through-life cost caused by cable failures can be reduced by implementing an integrity strategy which assesses the threats to the cables, and determines an inspection or monitoring programme to ensure cable condition is understood and any deterioration is assessed and remedied.

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