The open sea test site SEMREV, operated by Centrale Nantes, hosts the first grid connected offshore wind turbine in France, since September 2018. Its subsea connection unit enables testing simultaneously three marine renewable energy devices, namely floating wind and wave energy. The QRConnect project awarded of the WEAMEC Material call targets the deployment of an innovative electrical connector at the SEM-REV test site.
Scientific advances and innovation
In order to ensure the continuous availability of the submarine electrical network, for any given phase of the deployment of the on-going projects, and to reduce the costs associated to grid connection, the test site is willing to acquire an innovative electrical connector. This equipementequipment will ensure the junction between the umbilical cable connected to the subsea connection unit on one end, and the floating wind turbine developed by IDEOL and tested at SEM-REV test site within the FLOATGEN project. The innovation of this equipment lies in:
- The quick disconnection of the ombilical and the capacity to maintain power in the entire submarine electrical network (at the end of the connector handling).
- The complete real-time monitoring of the export cable based in particular on the fibre optic loopback.
- Its smaller dimensions, fitting with existing I-tubes technologies.
- Its ability to ensure the mechanical connection as well as the electrical junction.
Expected technical and economic impact
With the installation of a quick release connector, Centrale Nantes is improving the electrical infrastructure of the test site, reinforcing its competitiveness. More specifically, the short and medium term objectives of the QRconnect project are twofold :
- Ensuring the continuous operability of the subsea electrical network, regardless of the status on on-going testing activities. This is strategic component for hosting multiple grid connected devices on site at the same time.
- Reducing costs for the developers willing to demonstrate their technology at the SEMREV test site, by facilitating the grid connection installation (handling of the connector, fitting the I-tube,connection on the deck).
In the long term, the feedbacks from the installation of the first connector deployed in 2018, and the newly deployed quick release connector, while contribute to lowering the costs (mainly the installation costs) and lowering the risks associated to incidents requiring a quick release.
Key project milestones
- August 2019 - Start of the project
- December 2020 - Installation of the connector