KEMA Labs, the Testing, Inspection and Certification CESI Division, together with the manufacturing industry and offshore system operators, has carried out three special tests regarding the verification of cables, switchgear, and transformers dedicated to offshore wind power operations in the North Sea. Considering the magnitude of the project and the importance of offshore wind power, these tests have had a significant impact on the power sector, to the point that T&D World, one of the most important media outlets in the power T&D sector in the United States, dedicated to them an in-depth article. You can read it at this link.
Offshore wind power is, indeed, one of the new frontiers in the search for renewable energy. According to the European Commission, an estimated 240 GW to 450 GW of offshore wind power in Europe's seas and along its coasts will be needed by 2050 to keep temperature increase below 1.5°.
In terms of offshore wind, the North Sea in Europe has a potential expansion target of 300 GW by 2050, by itself. However, the special conditions that exist – harsh weather, long distance – pose numerous and unprecedented challenges to the components that shape the new transmission grids. Such difficult servicing conditions require reliability and availability of the components.
The first special test has been designed by KEMA Labs and TenneT to cover both categories of temporary overvoltages (TOV) and demonstrate the performance of HVDC cable system rated up to 525-kV DC with the existing HV test facility of KEMA Labs in Mannheim, Germany. In this facility, HVDC cables up to 525 kV are type tested or submitted to long-duration pre-qualification tests.
Moreover, three HVDC circuit breaker technologies, rated 80 to 350 kV, were tested in our high-power laboratory, and one long-duration (more than a year) high-voltage withstand test of an HVDC GIS (320 kV) was performed in the high-voltage laboratory of KEMA Lab's site in Arnhem, the Netherlands.
Finally, KEMA Labs tested the design of a 220-kV/400-MVA transformer with two secondary windings intended for offshore installation. In the test, short-circuit current was generated in one secondary winding while the other was open. This transformer passed the short-circuit test because the impedance change remained below 1% as required in the standard and no external abnormalities were observed.
The new offshore testing and equipment technology comes with various innovative aspects: massive power electronics, SF6 alternative gases for offshore, ultra-fast drive technologies, AI-based protection, high-voltage dc sources up to 3 MV, simulation, remote testing, and witnessing under severe COVID-19 restrictions, optical, ultra-high bandwidth measurement, and more innovative signatures of the future energy equipment testing technology.
Read the full article dedicated to the above-mentioned activities here.