The marine energy industry has reached the stage where a number of devices have completed pre-commercial, full-scale demonstration. Over the next few years, array-level projects will start to be constructed. One of the challenges facing the marine energy industry is the need to reduce the Levelised Cost of Energy (LCOE) of these projects. The lack of a standard marine electrical architecture means that it is more difficult to identify areas where cost savings can be made.
To address this issue, ORE Catapult, under the umbrella of the Marine Farm Accelerator (MFA), has instigated a project to identify a preferred array electrical architecture. The aim of the project is three fold:
- Review recent and ongoing work on the subject;
- Engage with the industry to develop a preferred array electrical architecture; and
- Look at areas of this architecture that require cost reduction.
A previous study into marine energy electrical architectures was commissioned in 2012. The study was undertaken by SSE Renewables, with additional funding provided by Scottish Enterprise, in partnership with sector stakeholders Scottish Power Renewables, Alstom Hydro France, Tidal Generation Ltd, Andritz Hydro Hammerfest and Voith Hydro Ocean Current Technologies. The project was supported by Scottish Enterprise. For this study, three equipment manufacturers (ABB, GE and Siemens) were approached and asked to investigate optimal connection solutions and identify any potential design standardisation. These were substantial reports and the aim of the current work package (WP2) is to provide a systematic review of these reports and where appropriate, use the findings to inform this project.
This report is divided into four main chapters, starting with a brief overview of the three SSE contractors’ reports in chapter 3. Chapter 4 then sets out the key requirements that must be addressed in the design of any array architecture for marine energy projects. Section 4.2 focuses on the ‘services’ that the array system has to provide to each marine energy device; Section 4.3 addresses requirements relating to installation and maintenance activities in the marine environment; finally Section 4.4 discusses issues relating to array system design and topology. Later in the report, an analysis of the system concepts offered by the three contractors is undertaken.
The remaining sections summarise the information provided by the three contractors and in particular highlight the similarities and differences between their proposed array concepts. Chapter 5 focuses on the information provided in the reports relating to the availability and limitations of key components that are likely to be used in the array system. Finally, chapter 6 categorises and describes the system concepts proposed by the three contractors.
To view the other reports in this series, follow the links below.