Norwegian company Aker Solutions has signed an engineering and design contract with the Norwegian Marine Energy Test Center to evaluate an innovative subsea energy system technology for offshore wind plants. This technology has the potential to significantly reduce the costs and complexity associated with offshore wind farms.
Within the framework of this innovative project, Aker Solutions will supply the underwater collector for the offshore wind energy testing area at METCentre. This test center, currently equipped with two floating offshore wind turbines located 10 km off the southwest coast of Karmøy, Norway, will expand its test area to incorporate seven floating offshore wind turbines starting in 2026.
Energy for offshore wind plants
The Subsea Collector represents an innovative approach to electrically connecting multiple wind turbines in a star configuration, as opposed to traditional daisy-chaining. This alternative offers greater flexibility in the architecture and construction of offshore wind farms. Furthermore, this peculiar design makes it possible to reduce the length of individual cables per wind turbine and of the entire park, as well as reducing navigation time and installation costs. Early results indicate total cost savings of up to 10% on a 1 GW floating wind farm.
It should be noted that the subsea collector is composed of a 66 kV wet connection system and subsea instrumentation that includes control and data acquisition provided by Benestad and ABB, respectively. The installation will be carried out by Windstaller Alliance, a collaboration between Aker Solutions, DeepOcean and Solstad Offshore. Likewise, Aker Solutions will supply the static cable intended for connection to the ground network.
“The Subsea Collector is a great example of true industrial collaboration. By combining the vast subsea experience of Aker Solutions with the proven control and connection systems of our partners, we aim to solve the challenges currently facing the offshore wind sector. We hope this project will result in a field-tested system that can benefit the industry for many years to come.”said Jo Kjetil Krabbe, who is executive vice president of Power Solutions at Aker Solutions.
After examining various alternative configurations for its upcoming cable infrastructure, METCentre elected to move forward with the initial implementation of the Aker Solutions subsea collector, with the goal of facilitating test area expansion.
“This pioneering project will help shape the infrastructure of future large-scale floating wind farms. The technology is in development, and the project demonstrates how the Norwegian oil and gas industry’s subsea expertise is driving innovation within floating offshore wind on a global scale.”said Arvid Nesse, CEO of METCentre and Norwegian Offshore Wind.
This system has been created based on the success of similar technologies implemented in large projects and Aker Solutions’ expertise in subsea energy solutions. It has been previously applied in projects such as Equinor’s Hywind Tampen for floating offshore wind farms.
METCentre’s participation in the advancement of the Norwegian supply chain will be considerable, highlighting its position as a leading global center in the evaluation of technologies for marine renewable energy. The Subsea Collector pilot initiative aligns with METCentre’s mission to foster innovation in the field of floating offshore wind energy internationally.
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