Scandinavians Develop New Scalable Floating Offshore Substation

Denmark-based Semco Maritime and ISC Consulting Engineers and Technip Energies’ affiliate Inocean, based in Norway and Sweden, have presented an offshore wind substation concept that involves floating technology and scalability.

An image rendering of the floating offshore substation developed by Semco Maritime, ISC and Inocean
Semco Maritime / ISC / Inocean

The three companies have now entered into a partnership that will combine Semco Maritime and ISC’s offshore wind and bottom-fixed substation engineering and construction experience with Inocean’s expertise as naval architects through design work on floating structures for both floating wind turbines and for major floating oil and gas topsides.

The floating offshore substation concept that the partners introduced is said to be reliable, cost-effective, and scalable.

The substation layout has been developed to fit the shape of a three-column stabilised substructure, according to the partners, who say this is “all known technology combined in a new wrapping”.

“As floating wind farms develop in terms of size, distance from shore and water depth, the need for a floating offshore substation as a key element of the transmission asset is becoming vital”, said Tommy Flindt, Senior Director, Technology & Market Development, Renewable Energy, Semco Maritime.

“There are many technical risks to manage. By merging Semco Maritime and ISC’s two decades of successful track-record with offshore substation with that of Inocean’s two decades as a naval architect for floating structures, we believe we are the right team to manage and control these risks”.

Over the past few years, there have been several floating substation concepts presented and research projects launched.

Earlier this month, Saipem and Siemens Energy announced the joint development of a concept design for a 500 MW high-voltage alternating current (HVAC) floating electrical substation for use in offshore wind farms.

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In June this year, DNV and 30 industry partners launched a Joint Industry Project (JIP) aimed at improving technology development for floating offshore wind substations.

The JIP has a specific focus on how export cables and topside equipment tolerate movements of a floating substructure.

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Last year, BW Ideol and Hitachi ABB Power Grids partnered to develop scalable floating substations for floating wind farms, which will consist of BW Ideol’s shallow-draft floating platforms and transformers, switchgear and other high-voltage products specially developed by Hitachi ABB Power Grids.

In 2019, BW Ideol (Ideol at the time) and Atlantique Offshore Energy unveiled details of their universal floating offshore substation, saying the solution was market-ready and designed for both bottom-fixed and floating offshore wind farms starting at depths of 40 metres.

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Photo: Semco Maritime / ISC / Inocean