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Study finds critical factors for subsea cables in high-energy environments

A ten-year study by European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) and The Crown Estate into the performance of subsea cabling in high-energy environments has proven the durability of the cabling used, the report authors claim.

The study looked at data gathered from by remotely operated vehicle (ROV) and inshore dive surveys into structural and provides a summary of the review to “inform the marine renewable energy industry on factors affecting the integrity and performance of sub-sea cables”.

Cables installed at the EMEC test sites in “appear to be in extremely good condition considering the environment in which they are deployed,” the summary found.

EMEC senior business development manager Matthew Finn said the data, which was reviewed in relation to installation methods, faults, and operational life of the cables, “will support the development of the nascent marine renewables industry”.

He added: “The report concludes that in sites with high tidal flow the greatest risk to sub-sea cables is the effect of cable strumming - vibration caused by the flow of water past the cable.”

EMEC Key findings

  • Carrying out calculations to assess the risk of strumming at an early stage
  • Completing detailed site surveys and optimising the cable route to avoid key risks
  • Protecting cables with armouring in high energy environments

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