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Submarine Power Cables

OPALCO video describes submarine power cable project
Submarine Cable NewsFeed - Submarine Power Cables
Tuesday, 27 October 2015 19:43

OPALCO, a power utility serving the San Juan Islands of Washington State, plans to replace an old power cable between two of the islands.  The utility has produced an interesting video to describe the project.  Note the footage at the end describing the installation of a cable back in the 1950s.  Go to  

NKT bullish on offshore wind cable market
Submarine Cable NewsFeed - Submarine Power Cables
Wednesday, 14 October 2015 17:07

Submarine power cable manufacturers are bullish on the market’s potential in the offshore wind sector.  Earlier this year, executives from Prysmian and Nexans gave their views on the submarine power cable market.  Now has NKT made its own forecast.

As reported by Reuters, NKT CEO Michael Hedegaard Lyng and Oliver Schlodder, executive vice president for Strategy & Specialties, presented the company's strategy to investors late last month.  They stated that they expect market volumes to grow on average by some 28 percent per year from 2016 to 2020.  This appears to be in line with the earlier Prysmian and Nexans projections. 

Lyng also reported that NKT could expand its manufacturing capacity by 45% with a $37 million investment.  Unlike Prysmian and Nexans, which have increased their manufacturing capacity, Lyng said that the increased investment “is not just yet around the corner for us.” 

NKT currently holds about 20% of the offshore wind cabling market, which accounts for 18% of its sales. 

Back in April, Nexans forecast a 10% annual growth for the overall submarine power cable market.  This is probably in line with NKT’s forecast as the offshore wind market is growing faster than other market segments.  Also in April, Prysmian forecast a 14%-20% overall market growth in 2015 over the previous year.  

Submarine power cable market surges ahead in 2015
Submarine Cable NewsFeed - Submarine Power Cables
Tuesday, 29 September 2015 14:30

“At the mid-way point of 2015, the submarine power cable market continued to reach unprecedented heights.”

That is one of the findings of TSC’s June 2015 Radar Screen Report, which provides a review and forecast of the submarine fiber optic and power cable market.

Based on route-kilometers of cable of announced supply contracts, demand for the first half of 2015 was at a record pace as the interconnector and offshore winds markets continued to soar.  The total route-kilometers contractedbetween January and June was 70% higher than cable lain during the same time period in 2014.  A record setter in its own right.  The interconnector market, particularly in Europe, could have a huge year in 2015 as technological developments make longer systems possible.

Meanwhile, the offshore wind market is booming in Europe and showed signs of finally breaking out globally, where there were major developments in the US, China, India and elsewhere.

The Radar Screen Fiber Optic Cable Report provides an in-depth overview of the state of the industry and insight to future opportunities over the next five years.  For more information, go to

Nexans sees continued growth in subsea power cable market
Submarine Cable NewsFeed - Submarine Power Cables
Thursday, 23 April 2015 08:23

A few weeks ago, we noted that Prysmian was forecasting strong growth in the submarine power cable business.  Now Nexans, one of the other leading suppliers to the market, is discussing similarly optimistic forecasts.

According to a Reuters report quoting French daily Le Figaro, Arnaud Poupart-Lafarge, Nexans CEO, is expecting the high levels of growth that the market has seen in recent years to continue.

"High-voltage submarine cables are one of our most profitable and fastest-growing activities. We expect 10 percent growth per year in coming years, as we have seen in recent years," Poupart-Lafarge was quoted as saying.

According to the Reuters Africa story (, another Nexans executive quoted in Le Figaro said Nexans plans to increase its submarine power cable manufacturing capacity with a 35 million euro investment.

At Submarine Cable World, we track growth in terms of demand for cable in route-kilometers, based on new contract announcements.  Using that metric, the market thus far in 2015 is running 13% higher than for the same period in 2014.  

Prysmian: Submarine Power Cable Market to Grow in 2015
Submarine Cable NewsFeed - Submarine Power Cables
Friday, 03 April 2015 10:46

In a recent interview with Reuters, Prysmian energy projects head and board member Massimo Battaini said that the submarine power cable market would grow, in terms of dollars of new contracts, by 14%-to-20% in 2015 over 2014. 

At SubCableWorld, we forecast the market based on kilometers of cable in new contracts as reported in our NewsFeed and Radar Screen Report.  Based on this, we are seeing higher growth so far in 2015 than Prysmian’s forecast.  If the pace continues as it was in the first quarter of the year, the demand for new submarine power cable in 2015 will be 33% higher than in 2014. 

This is not likely, however, as the first quarter included the award for Nordlink, which at 700 kilometers would be the longest submarine power cable to date.  As contracts of that size (representing well over half of the entire amount of cable awarded for the quarter) are not common, 2015’s full-year growth in terms of kilometers of cable is unlikely to continue at the 33% pace and will more likely be in the 20%-to-25% range. 

Regardless of the criteria, by any standard the submarine power cable market is booming, with Battaini telling Reuters that Prysmian currently is in the running for 13 new projects in Europe alone.  With the contracts already awarded in the first quarter, this would equal the total number of contract awards announced in 2014, without including any upcoming awards outside of Europe.

Prysmian in Copenhagen for EWEA Offshore 2015
Submarine Cable NewsFeed - Submarine Power Cables
Tuesday, 10 March 2015 09:53

Prysmian Group will showcase its state-of-the-art range of products and services for the wind power industry at the 2015 biannual European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) Offshore Event, taking place in Copenhagen, Denmark, from March 10 to 12.

Long-term growth perspectives in the renewable sector and business development strategy have taken the Group to further strengthen commitment to this strategic and added-value market. Prysmian, therefore, will be present with an enlarged portfolio of products and services. This will include AC and DC power transmission submarine cable systems and advanced turbine cabling solutions with high resistance to abrasion, UV radiations, corrosion, bending and torsion stress for increased efficiency, reliability and safety, specifically designed to meet highly demanding conditions of plants and installation areas. The company will also show its new Feltoflex HV cable system for moveable interconnection between platforms.

Special focus will also be dedicated to the Group's portfolio of EPR (ethylene-propylene rubber) cable solutions for inter-array applications. For inter-array connections at 66 kV voltage level Prysmian offers its EPR insulated 3-core submarine cables, which are a proven, reliable and cost effective solution. Proven, because the product's track record dates back to the early 70s, reliable because products are fully qualified up to Um 72.5 kV according to all major international standards, cost-effective because the proposed solution is wet design, therefore lead free, lighter and smaller cables.

The Group's commitment to supporting the realization of strategic projects for the development of renewable energy and offshore wind farms is also reflected in recent enhancements of its installation capability. Prysmian has invested more than € 30 million in the past few years to upgrade its cable-laying ship the Cable Enterprise which is almost ready to start work. Prysmian can now rely on two cable-laying vessels: the Giulio Verne, the cable ship with the largest operation capacity in the world, and the Cable Enterprise specifically designed for the installation works required for the interconnections on offshore wind parks.

EWEA Offshore 2015 comes at a very important time for the Group which has recently announced the successful commissioning and handover of the first and the second HVDC offshore grid connections for the BorWin2 and HelWin1 wind farms in Germany. Another two DC offshore grid connection projects, SylWin1 and HelWin2, are near completion and are scheduled to start commercial operation during the first half of 2015. Prysmian is currently also implementing the HVDC cable systems for the DolWin3 and BorWin3 projects.

Potential Cable Market for US Offshore Wind
Submarine Cable NewsFeed - Submarine Power Cables
Friday, 27 February 2015 13:49

The offshore wind farm market in the United States has been struggling to develop for years, but still has a lot of potential.  Many articles have been written on the number of turbines and gigawatts, but this blog is about the submarine cable industry and what we care about is how much cable could be installed. 

It is way too early in the development cycle for even the developers to be certain of how much cable they will need, but I decided to try to quantify it using the available data.  This is not easy, as there is little data to work with, but by making a few assumptions, I came up with a formula to estimate the potential market for cable represented by US offshore wind.

While there are some initiatives for wind farms in state waters, I focused on those in federal waters, which are much larger areas and have fewer regulatory obstacles.  So far, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) has awarded seven lease areas to offshore wind developers (not counting demonstration-scale projects).  These are off the coasts of Rhode Island/Massachusetts (two areas), Massachusetts (two areas), Delaware (one area) and Maryland (two areas). 

First, I took the size of the lease areas and made some assumptions on how much of that territory will actually be used for the wind farms, based on the size of existing European offshore wind farms.  Then I made some estimates on the length of the export cables (connecting the farm with the shore), assuming one export cable per farm, and calculated an average of cable kilometers per square kilometer of wind farm for the array cabling (again based on recent examples in Europe).

The result is 438 kilometers of array cabling and 350 kilometers of export cable.

But this is only half of the picture.  Besides the seven lease areas that have been awarded, another six are in the development process and may be awarded later this year.  These are off New Jersey (two areas), North Carolina (three) and Virginia (one).

Using the same methodology as above, the result is 431 kilometers of array cabling and 300 kilometers of export cable.

This brings us to a total of 869 kilometers of array cabling and 650 kilometers of export cabling – a total of 1,570 kilometers altogether.  Although this a large number in and of itself, it is likely conservative.  I assumed a single export cable, but many recent European offshore wind farms use two export cables for added reliability.  This would double the amount of export cable and bring the total to 2,169 kilometers.

For the submarine power cable market, which has only in the last few years seen annual cable contract awards of over 1,000 kilometers, the US wind farm market, although still fraught with uncertainty, could be large and lucrative for suppliers. 

Submarine Power Cable Market off to a Strong Start
Submarine Cable NewsFeed - Submarine Power Cables
Sunday, 15 February 2015 15:50

In our recently published Radar Screen Report for submarine power cables, we noted that demand for cable in 2014 reached new levels as the industry surges ahead.  We also noted in a recent NewsFeed that after such a big year it might take a little time for momentum to rebuild and it took a few weeks for demand in 2015 to get moving.  For the first six weeks of the year, only one 38-kilometer contract was announced.

But then things really picked up in the seventh week.  A large wind farm contract and one of the longest interconnector projects in history pushed the total to over 800 kilometers of cable.  This total, in less than two months, is nearly as much as the entire total for 2013 (986 km). 

The strain of such high demand on manufacturing capacity can be seen as well.  The completion date of the recently-awarded NordLink project has been pushed from 2018 to 2019, because of the limits of the supply chain. 

It is always better, however, to have too much demand than not enough.

Number of Connected Wind Turbines in Europe Grows
Submarine Cable NewsFeed - Submarine Power Cables
Thursday, 19 August 2010 15:54

The number of offshore wind turbines connected by submarine power cables to the mainland grid could increase by one-third, according to figures released by European Wind Energy Association (EWEA).

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RasGas Cable Repair Contract Awarded
Submarine Cable NewsFeed - Submarine Power Cables
Tuesday, 17 August 2010 16:00

Five Oceans Services (FOS) has announced that it has been awarded a second contract by RasGas Company Limited in Qatar for the repair of a damaged section of subsea cable between two platforms offshore Qatar.  The contract is a follow up to a 2009 repair successfully completed by FOS for RasGas.  Operations will commence imminently and are part of the RasGas Offshore Expansion Project Phase 1.

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