The demand for high voltage submarine power cables is set to skyrocket over the next ten years, according to Pike Research, placing a significant strain on supply.

The demand for high-voltage subsea cables is rapidly moving beyond their traditional role of connecting islands to nearby national grids, with grid interconnections and connecting offshore wind farms to nearby land on the rise.

According to a new report from Pike Research, submarine transmission cable projects will increase from just over 60 worldwide in 2011 to more than 350 by 2020, placing significant pressure on the existing industry supply chain.

“Only a handful of manufacturers in the world are capable of producing and installing high-voltage subsea power cables,” says Clint Wheelock, president of Pike Research president.

“Our analysis indicates that the limited supply chain for cables is not prepared to meet the increased demand that offshore renewable energy production and grid interconnection will place on the market.

“The constraints on the supply chain don’t stop with the manufacturers. The site engineering companies and cable-laying ships required are also highly specialized and also in limited supply.”

Pike Research forecasts that Europe will continue to be the leading region for submarine electricity cable deployments, representing nearly three-quarters of all projects by 2020.

Asia Pacific will be the next largest regional market, followed by North America.

The cleantech market intelligence firm also observes that the deployment of high-voltage direct current (HVDC) projects will outpace high-voltage alternating current (HVAC) cables in the coming years.

According to Pike Research, recent advancements in cables and equipment have brought on a rash of new HVDC cable installations, and these systems can also address projects that handle longer distances, higher voltages, and deeper routes than HVAC.

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