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Future Installation and Connection Of Tidal Turbines

21/6/13.

At the recent Energy Ocean Conference held in Providence, Rhode Island, USA, SEACON’s Renewable Energy Business Development Manager, Dave Pye gave a joint presentation with Clive Adshead of Soil Machine Dynamics (SMD) on ‘Future Installation and Connection of Tidal Turbines’.  Brief details of the presentation are as follows.

There are two areas where connectors are required in Tidal power systems

  • The Nacelle to support the structure connection to allow removal of the generator for repair or maintenance.

Generator Nacelle To Base Structure

Generator Nacelle To Base Structure

  • Support structure to export the umbilical to facilitate installation or replacement of the inter-array cables.

Inter-Array Or Export Cable Connection

Inter-Array Or Export Cable Connection
(Image reproduced by permission of
Atlantis)

Atlantis

 

Three types of connector are commonly available, ROV mateable, Diver mateable and Stab-plate.

SEA-MATE-ROV

ROV-Mateable

CM

Diver-Mateable

The first two are impractical in the Marine Renewable Energy environment due to high currents and very limited slack water duration, hence the most practical is the use of an automatic connection system using stab plates.

Stab-Plate

Stab-Plate

In addition to this it is necessary to consider the environment and its effect on connectors. The high oxygen content and possible warm waters contribute to an increase in corrosion and marine growth. It is possible to mitigate against these by the use of higher specification materials, or the application of coatings but these all add to the cost of the product.

Conclusions:

  • Standardisation or at least rationalisation of installation techniques will deliver cost savings.  Use of generic solutions.
  • Standardisation or at least the reduction in the number of connector variants required will reduce costs by increasing quantities and removing repeated design costs.
  • Accurate cable laying will allow the use of ‘automatic’ (stab-plate type) connection techniques for export and inter-array cables.
  • The industry now needs to concentrate more on delivering the power to shore rather than generating it.

For more details please contact Dave Pye at dpye@seaconworldwide.com