Technology Update

Largest offshore wind turbine in seawater installed by Alstom


The installation of the largest offshore wind turbine in sea waters has been completed.

The 6 MW Haliade turbine, which has a 150-metre rotor, was installed by Alstom at the Belwind wind farm in Belgium.

A 61-metre jacket was set on top of pillars which were sunk to a depth exceeding 60 metres. Then the three elements of the 78-metre tower were gradually assembled on the jacket. In all, the nacelle is over 100 metres above sea level while the overall weight of the turbine and its structure is 1500 tonnes.

It operates without a gearbox and because of a permanent-magnet generator, there are less mechanical parts in it, which Alstom says makes it more reliable.

Mainstream hits milestone in offshore wind measurement

Global renewable energy developer Mainstream Renewable Power is to deploy the North Sea’s first commercial floating LiDAR wind measurement device.

The device is designed to capture wind data in the harshest marine conditions and will support Mainstream’s proposed 450 MW Neart Na Gaoithe offshore wind farm.

The FLiDAR features state-of-the art measurement equipment including a Leosphere LiDAR mounted on a standard marine buoy that is powered by micro PV wind power technology.

A deal has been signed with Belgian technology providers FLiDAR NV for the launch of the floating device to the site almost 16km off the Fife Ness Coast early next year.

Prior to its launch, the device will also be the first to be validated at Narec’s new Offshore Anemometry and Research Platform located off the coast of Blyth, Northumberland, England.

FLiDAR technology signals a significant shift from the reliance on fixed offshore meteorological masts in assessing the potential wind resource for offshore wind farms.

Neart Na Gaoithe is seen as a flagship project for offshore renewables in Scotland. The project received planning consent for the onshore works connected to the wind farm in June 2013 and a decision on the offshore elements is expected by the end of this year.

Italian cable firm Prysmian signs Russian pact on grid technology

Italian cable maker Prysmian and Russia’s largest power grid company Rosseti have signed a technical cooperation agreement to develop power transmission and distribution technology in Russia.

The agreement, signed yesterday during the Italy-Russia Business Forum in Trieste, commits the companies to jointly develop high voltage cables, joints, terminations and grid monitoring equipment for power transmission systems with voltages up to 500 kV. The two companies also plan to collaborate on post-installation support systems that could prevent grid failures.

Prysmian said it based its decision to expand its Russian presence on the recent revival in grid investment in the nation, and on expected high medium-term market growth. Among other plans, the Federal Grid’s $23.48 billion programme aims to add 66 870 MVA of transformer capacity and 16 985 km of transmission lines in the country by 2017.

Prysmian has invested $55 million in a cable factory in Rybinsk in the Yaroslavl region, and also owns a factory in St Petersburg. Although it has been involved in building the latter city’s high-voltage grids and in upgrading Moscow’s transmission grid, local production will offer a competitive edge for the future, the company said.

US first as Areva uses robot for nuclear reactor inspection

French nuclear technology group Areva has used a robot to carry out an inspection of a reactor’s primary system.

During a recent outage at a plant in the US, Areva carried out the inspection using its SUSI (Submarine System for Inspection) robot – the first time the technology has been used in America.

This small, remote-controlled submarine navigates the primary system of a nuclear power plant and is equipped with technology to inspect components through ultrasonic and visual testing.

The robot was pioneered by Areva Germany and is already extensively used in Europe, however Areva adapted the technology to meet the requirements of American nuclear power plants.

Philippe Samama, executive vice-president of Areva’s Installed Base Business Unit, said: “SUSI is a remarkable technology, which can be adapted for all types of reactors, enabling utilities across the world to guarantee the long term safety of their operations.”

Meanwhile, Areva and South Korea’s largest power utility, KEPCO, have signed a pact to work together in the renewable energy sector.

Under the memorandum of understanding, Areva will identify with KEPCO the commercial opportunities in its fields of expertise in renewable energy, with a particular emphasis on offshore wind, energy storage, concentrated solar power.

The deal will also see the two companies focus their collaboration on biomass in Southeast Asia. Louis-Franàƒ§ois Durret, chief executive of Areva Renewables, said the deal “confirms Areva’s ambitions in renewables”.

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