Aker Puts Subsea Oil & Gas Tech to Work for Offshore Wind
Norwegian offshore technology company Aker Solutions is working with Norway's Marine Energy Test Centre to try out a new way to set up the power collection and transfer grid for offshore wind farms - specifically for floating installations, which are too far offshore for typical bottom-fixed power substations.
Aker will deploy a new power transmission technology called "Subsea Collector" at the METCentre's offshore wind test area. There are two floating turbine platforms at the center, located about five nautical miles off Karmoy, Norway, and within the next three years there will be five more turbines on site.
Aker says that the new grid technology will let the operator hook up multiple wind turbines to one transfer station in a "star" configuration, rather than the usual daisy-chain arrangement. This will reduce the length of cable needed to wire up an offshore wind farm, which means less cable-layer time and less installation cost, on the order of about 10 percent.
The equipment for the pilot will be supplied by ABB and Benestad. Aker, DeepOcean and Solstad will carry out the installation, and Aker will hook up a fixed export cable from the collection point back to shore.
Aker says that it drew on its decades of experience in offshore oil and gas subsea technology for the design and construction of the new system. Aker has used similar technology for powering subsea gas compression systems and for collecting power from other offshore wind projects, including Equinor's groundbreaking Hywind Tampen offshore wind installation.
“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,” says CEO of METCentre and Norwegian Offshore Wind, Arvid Nesse.