Improving Efficiency of Offshore Renewable Energy Generation

National Oceanography Centre

A new project being led by the National Oceanography Centre to develop a system to improve the efficiency of offshore renewable energy generation and help develop the blue economy has been awarded funding from Innovate UK’s Sustainable Innovation Fund.

Submarine High-fidelity Active-monitoring of Renewable energy Cables (SHARC) is a project that aims to improve the operational efficiency of offshore renewable energy generation by addressing failure management of critical subsea infrastructure, in this case submarine cables. The SHARC project will develop innovative techniques to monitor the condition of cables in real-time, taking into account the combined influence of various marine environmental and intrinsic cable heating effects. This will result in early detection of potential threats to cables or better prediction of their potential failures, which will enable timely intervention, avoiding large-scale damage and the associated costly downtimes.

Between 2014 and 2017, recorded cable failures across U.K. sites alone led to a cumulative loss of £227 million, highlighting the importance of innovations to improve cable failure-management strategies. Reducing these costs will make offshore renewables more competitive and accelerate their uptake, contributing to the U.K. government’s Clean Growth Strategy and enabling net-zero carbon emissions.

Furthermore, COVID-19 has increased the need for remote monitoring of assets. Remote monitoring can be performed in socially distanced settings, removing the need to deploy crews offshore to operate in the tight confines of vessels. This approach is more economically efficient, as it will allow in-service fiber-optics to be remotely accessed. Additionally, it will reduce the health risks to employees by limiting their potential exposure to COVID-19.

Source: National Oceanography Centre

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