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Conference programme 

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Poster session

Lead Session Chair:
Stephan Barth, Managing Director, ForWind - Center for Wind Energy Research, Germany
James Battensby Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult, United Kingdom
Christian Little (1) F P Caroline Lourie (2) Elisa Ruiz Gutierrez-Crespo (3) Alex Roff (4) Charlotte Pugh (5)
(1) Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult, Blyth, United Kingdom (2) JDR Cables, Hartlepool, United Kingdom (3) Tecnalia, Derio - Bizkaia , Spain (4) PDL Solutions, Hexham, United Kingdom (5) IHC Engineering Business, Stocksfield, United Kingdom

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Presenter's biography

Biographies are supplied directly by presenters at OFFSHORE 2015 and are published here unedited

James Battensby is the Technical Bid Manager at the Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult (ORE Catapult). The Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult is one of a network of elite technology and innovation centres established by Innovate UK. James is responsible for the development of research proposals and industrial supply chain engagement programmes at the ORE Catapult.
James has over 14 years of experience in the low carbon sector and prior to joining ORE Catapult held a range of positions managing technology development projects. This has included roles with Parsons Brinckerhoff, UK Government and Corus Research and Development.


Reducing costs for subsea cabling installation and handling


Innovation right across the supply chain is critical for cost reduction in offshore renewables. The Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult (ORE Catapult) has developed the Renewable Energy Technology Accelerator (RETA) programme to examine a number of research areas relating to offshore power cable installation and cable monitoring technology. Currently the OPEX costs for an offshore windfarm are estimated to be around 30% of the overall costs; therefore, any improvement which can be made to reduce the O&M requirements on power cabling could significantly improve the overall cost performance.


The ORE Catapult RETA programme aims to make material progress in the design and installation of smart cable technology, with the ultimate objective of improving the real-time understanding of the performance of these critical assets and, as a result, reducing the risk of outage by triggering appropriate and timely maintenance interventions. The approach is to undertake a number of collaborative industrial projects to further understanding in this sector and undertaking industrial scale demonstration trials to verify the new technology.

Main body of abstract

The key innovations in the RETA programme include:
- An improved design of a cable trenching vehicle which includes novel concepts for an inter-array cable trencher with a tight turning radius. This is suitable for trenching towards an offshore foundation, with accelerated cable burial capabilities. The aim of this development is to help to reduce offshore wind farm installation and intervention costs, reducing vessel time and improving the efficiency of initial build out. This will also include improved traction of the trenching vehicle to allow greater manoeuvrability of the vehicle in various offshore terrains.
- Smart cable design and operation which includes the development of research around cable design and dynamic modelling of potential failure issues. This is succeeded by a test programme of a power cable with condition monitoring technology to develop enhanced preventative maintenance schemes. The work carried out will provide valuable insight into likely in-situ cable performance, as well as helping to establish the key indicators of cable performance, to facilitate further analysis for optimised operations and maintenance interventions.
- Research to further the understanding of issues for different cable installation scenarios and how to improve understanding of potential wear issues in cabling systems. Such as incidents relating to poor installation practice through a J-tube and issues relating to loss of Dynamic Positioning (DP), where the Cable Laying Vessel (CLV) may be unable to keep position due to storm, waves or currents. These uncontrolled vessel movements can introduce inappropriate strain, bending, or choking of the cable.


Overall the ORE Catapult Renewable Energy Technology Accelerator (RETA) programme aims to significantly contribute to the understanding of subsea cabling installation and handling, to contribute to the UK Government target of reaching £100/MWhr for offshore wind, leading to an accelerated rate of offshore wind deployment in the UK. The aim of this programme is to substantially reduce industry wide issues in subsea cabling and improve supply chain capabilities defining clear parameters for best practice.

Learning objectives
Key learning objectives from the session will be to outline the developments in novel trenching technology and the potential benefits of the use of smart cables with condition monitoring technology. This will provide an overview of potential issues for installation of offshore subsea power cabling for wind farms and potential impacts on cost.