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CIGRE Work supports analysis of Basslink cable fault.


Recent CIGRE International Working Group activity related to submarine cables

Across the world, particularly in Northern Europe, there are considerable existing as well as new submarine cable circuits in the process of installation. They fall into two principal categories and some are listed below:

1)      Interconnections

2)      Offshore generation connections

CIGRE Study Committee B1 covers the development and operation of all types of AC and DC insulated cable systems for land and submarine power transmission. The increasing importance of the latter category is recognised and features prominently in the current B1 Strategic Plan.  Below are two pertinent extracts from this plan :  

  • ..More electricity trading across large geographical areas will require an increasing number of AC and DC interconnections, using underground and submarine cables.
  • ..Further advances in HVDC technology are likely to lead to a wider application of DC cables for land and submarine installations. 

The increasing number of land and submarine cable assets globally has created a focus on cable fault location capabilities; Basslink being but one recent example. Working Group B1.52: Fault location on land and submarine links (AC and DC) was therefore formed in 2014 with the aim of producing a Technical Brochure which will provide guidance to engineers on the correct application of the various techniques available.

Two relevant Working Groups which have finished their work and published Technical Brochures are: -

 1) TB 610– Offshore Generation Cable Connections (WG B1.40)

 In recent years the number and size of installed offshore wind farms have increased rapidly and more and larger farms are being planned. Other types of offshore generation, such as tidal and wave energy generation are anticipated. Submarine cables are an essential part of these developments. 

The Technical Brochure is a guide for both experienced professionals, who have worked with submarine cables (design and/or installation), and for engineers with no or limited knowledge in this area. In addition, people working with consenting issues, authorities, consultants, investors, insurance companies and other stakeholders will benefit from the overview detailing challenges and possibilities in offshore cable projects. 

2) TB 623– Recommendations for mechanical testing of submarine cables (WG B1.43) 

This Technical Brochure aims to improve on recommendations published in Electra 171  in the light of increases in the maximum installation depth and the increased diversity of application of submarine cables. It provides an overview of the mechanical handling of the submarine cables throughout their life cycle as well as describing the tests that are recommended or could be considered.

The recommendations are applicable to submarine cables intended to be used in AC and DC power transmission systems with rated voltages above 30 kV AC or 60 kV DC. Further they are applicable for extruded cable systems, mass Impregnated cable systems and oil-filled cable systems. 

These brochures are available at CIGRE’s global information database at e-cigre