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Sunday, 15 May 2011

Those pesky cables


Oh dear. Not only the grout is failing in those monopile offshore wind turbines, but it looks like it could cost  even more due to the shortage of electrical cabling.

According to a new Wind Energy Update report titled Offshore Wind Installation & Construction, cabling currently accounts for between 8% and 10% of a project’s overall costs, but is at the root of 70% of insurance payouts. That means something is not going well.

One director of a well-known installation contractor quoted in the report says: “There has often been a lack of appreciation amongst procurers of the special character and difficulties relating to cable installation, and particularly a lack of early consultation with the installation contractor.”

And the penalties for errors are high. Cable installation costs are in the order of EUR€565 per metre and the high cost of vessels means any unexpected delays can have a significant impact on budgets.

For example, if every pull-in on an offshore wind farm with 180 turbines takes one hour longer than planned, at a typical cost of €170,000 a day the additional expense would mushroom to more than €2.5 million. Half a day’s delay each would mean €30 million-plus in costs.

There is some good news though.

That is not the only cause for concern, either. Some in the industry have wondered whether growing demand for subsea cables might put the brakes on the industry’s ambitious build-out plans over the next few years.

Hopefully they’ll bankrupt themselves. Before they bankrupt us.

Does the Buffoon Huhne ever get appraised of reports like these or does his army of sycophants carefully shield him from anything that might make him think differently?

There was an article this week about running a humongous cable across the North Sea to Norway. The idea was to use the wind energy to pump water from low level lakes in Norway to High level lakes. Then to use the potential energy therein to turn water turbine generators and generate electricity to transport the energy back to the UK when the Bird mincers weren't turning. I shook my head when I read that. The losses in the pumping and in the cables  would be horrendous. Who are these idiots? What’s the point of generating expensive energy and then losing a considerable percentage in losses?

And of course us, Joe public, will have to pay through the nose for this idiocy.

I think I need to lie down in a darkened room for the next ten years.


  1. I suppose they'd make a rich harvest for metal thieves.

    Underwater & out of sight.

    During a period of forecast calm, nobody would miss them for days.

  2. Captain Haddock15 May 2011 at 18:30

    And all that before some scrote decides to "half-inch" the more readily accessible lengths of cable ..

    Well, if they'll risk being burned to death or electrocuted by nicking cable from electricity sub-stations ..

  3. I was on one ship that had degaussing cables round the deck edge. These were there to combat magnetic mines. After a refit we tested the system only to find it didn't work. Someone had sliced open the insulation carefully and knicked all the copper core.

  4. I rarely watch any TV news, but happened to see a bit on Sky tonight. It seems that dick-head Dave is not only NOT going to scale back Huhnes crazy plans, but push forward with even more drastic CO2 reduction targets.

    There won't be any shortage of darkened rooms to lie down in, which is just as well, since none of us will have any jobs (or future)...

  5. I'm going to get ahead off the game and find a company that sells candle futures.

    PS I've already got futures in piano wire and lamposts.

  6. Captain Haddock15 May 2011 at 19:00

    Add Cheese-wires & those flexible wire "Combat" saws to your portfolio FE .. ;)

    Didn't there used to be a Degaussing Station somewhere on the Gosport side of Pompey Harbour too ?

  7. Yes there was. I was on one ship that was "De-permed. We were all worried that we would be dematerialised as in the Philadlephia experiment. Or worse still, our credit cards would be wiped.

  8. Captain Haddock15 May 2011 at 21:19

    I think you're the first person I've ever come across to have been through Degaussing FE ..

    Slightly O/T but did this catch your eye ?

  9. I once degassed some Hydragas suspension units off my old Maxi. Letting 40 psi out by drilling a very small hole was the easy bit. Recharging them with 250 psi was not...

    Oh....sorry - not the same thing.

    I might be able to degauss my Panda - with 2 batteries, a heavy duty alternator, and a 1Kw AC inverter I could probably send it back to the future...

  10. The level of debate on here is simply breathtaking I had no idea such technical know how and scientific knowledge existed out side of NASA.

    Your sincerely,

    Lord Kelvin.

    PS Bye bye fuckwits

  11. Captain Haddock15 May 2011 at 23:18

    @ Anon ..

    Bye bye Piss-Flaps ..

  12. I recall one fisherman who took an axe to a comms cable his trawl net had hooked - this was a coax cable laid in the 70s - fried by the 4000V DC that went through the central core to power the undersea repeaters.

    In the 3rd world attempts to steal shore ends were common even when cables moved to being fibre optic (basically lots of glass strands but still copper conductor in the centre to power repeaters on long distance cables (up to 14000v on transpacific cables ) - Average thief doesn't know how little copper there is in modern undersea comms cable - None at all in an unrepeatered system - just sees a 20-30mm dia cable and thinks "My lucky day"

    However all cables are now typically buried to 1.5-2m into the seabed right out to 1500 to 2000m waterdepth on the continental shelf to guard againt trawl and anchor damage. So good luck finding it in the first place.

    Shore ends are buried even deeper (up to 4m, exceptionally 10m in Singapore harbour ) or sheathed in jointed steel armour sections for last 200m - and also have two layers of armour wire on outside anyway - good luck cutting that! -

    Section up the beach to shore station is laid in concrete duct - in third world, manholes on the duct were welded shut and (in Middle East and Africa at least) patrolled by armed guards

    Really good luck trying to steal a submarine POWER cable - as well as this burial and shore end protection they are really really heavy - big thick conductors and two layers of massive steel wire armour (8-12mm dia wire ) outside

    The ships that lay and (rarely) recover or repair them are serious heavy engineering kit. A transit van and an angle grinder are not going to be enough...

  13. There'ss also been a project kicking arond for at least 25 years to lay a power cable from Iceland to the UK - Iceland has so much potential hydro and geothermal energy.

    However transmission losses - and the really really difficult seabed conditions just south of Iceland (steep undersea mountains in deep water with strong currents that scour off the sediment leaving hard rock that abrades cables) have always made it uneconomic.

    Any cable strong enough to stand the seabed conditions would be too heavy to be laid - the long bight of hanging cable from the cable ship is so heavy it stretches and deforms the cable. Really challenging even for comms cable

    Have to wait for room temperature superconductors for power cable.

  14. I've always said that "green energy" is a crack addicts pipe dream...and a bad one at that.
    As for buying stocks.. May I suggest an additional investment opportunity for you besides candles, piano wire and lamp posts? Rope. Rope is cheap and almost infinitely reusable.


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