The project 'SHARC: Submarine High-fidelity Active-monitoring of Renewable energy Cables' aims to improve the operational efficiency of offshore renewable energy generation by improving failure management of critical infrastructure, i.e., the submarine cables. Between 2014 - 2017, recorded cable failures across UK sites alone led to a cumulative generation loss of £227 million, highlighting the importance of innovations improving cable failure-management strategies. It is therefore highly desirable to understand the status of offshore assets, to reduce failure rates, extend routine maintenance periods, and avoid costly downtime. Reducing these costs will make offshore renewables more competitive and accelerate their uptake, contributing to the UK Government's Clean Growth Strategy and enabling net-zero emissions.
Furthermore, COVID-19 has increased the need for remote monitoring of assets. Remote monitoring can be performed in socially distanced settings, rather than sending crews offshore to operate in the tight confines of vessels. This approach is more economically efficient, where in-service fibre-optics is remotely accessed. Additionally, it will alleviate health risks to employees by limiting their potential exposure to COVID-19, enabling the offshore renewable energy industry to 'build back better'.
We will develop innovative techniques to monitor the cable-health in real-time, albeit under the combined influence of various marine-environmental and intrinsic cable heating effects. This will result in early detection of potential threats to cables or better prediction of their incipient failures, which will enable timely intervention, avoidance of large-scale damages and associated costly downtimes.
To achieve this ambitious goal, a team of world class domain experts, ranging from marine geoscience, ocean technology and engineering, machine learning & artificial intelligence based algorithm design and use, modelling dynamic and static rating and next-generation distributed fibre optics design and instrumentation, is being led by NOC with end-user/stakeholder in the form of European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC).