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Practical Analysis of Key Electrical Interfaces for Wave Energy Converter Arrays

Date: November 05, 2013 at 17:42 GMT

The authors have previously outlined a proposed path for the development of electrical
networks for deepwater wave farms. This path broadly followed that of offshore wind farms as the least cost solution. The main differences between wind farm and wave farm electrical networks were identified as the method of installation and maintenance and the components at the WEC interface with the electrical network. Components such as dynamic cables, submarine connectors, submarine switchgear all form part of these interfaces. 

This paper examines the key electrical interfaces for WEC arrays such as the dynamic cable to WEC interface, dynamic cable to static cable interface, and the WEC medium voltage switchgear interface. The cost and functionality of these interfaces are evaluated for a variety of options. The paper also looks at array electrical configurations beyond radial under the same criteria. 

The paper concludes with an optimised solution for the key interfaces between the WEC and the electrical which minimises cost but maintains important functionality of the electrical network within the array. The preferred solution uses a combination of permanent cable joints, mateable connectors, and onboard switchgear. The paper outlines the challenge to get the electrical systems to
a cost level that will be competitive with other renewable sources, particularly offshore wind. 

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