DC arrays 'over decade away'
TNEI report says technology needs de-risking for commercial use
The use of DC arrays to connect offshore wind farms could be more than 10 years away, according to a study by UK energy consultancy TNEI.
TNEI carried out an investigation into the feasibility of using DC arrays with offshore wind farms on behalf of the Carbon Trust and Offshore Wind Accelerator.
It built on DC Array work carried out for the Accelerator in 2011.
“The premise of DC arrays is to use medium voltage DC array cables rather than conventional 66kV or 33kV AC array cables to connect each wind turbine to the offshore substation(s),” TNEI said.
However, further work is needed to de-risk the business case for a company to use DC arrays because the industry is risk averse, the consultancy said.
It suggested a roadmap starting with small-scale demo projects, followed by other work to de-risk the technology.
This could include regulatory treatment for 80kV DC arrays under the UK OFTO regime, developing project insurance and comparing project costs with AC array benchmarks.