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Siemens Simplifies Grid Connection for Offshore Wind Farms

Marking a new milestone for the offshore wind sector, German engineering giant Siemens AG unveiled a revolutionary solution to connect offshore wind turbines to the grid.

This direct current technology enables a cost-efficient and simplified connection of offshore wind power plants far from the coast. The new platform accommodating the transmission technology is much smaller and more compact than ever.  Up until now, offshore power plants have been connected to the grid through large central converter platforms.

The platform involves a direct-current cable that can connect several of these platforms sequentially in a wind farm and then route them to an onshore transformer substation.

The core of the new transmission technology consists of diode rectifier units (DRU), a transformer, smoothing reactor, and the rectifier – all combined in one tank. The use of the DRUs and the encapsulated DC-CS direct-current switchgear decreases the installation space by more than 80% compared with air-insulated technology.

The costs of grid connection are reduced by more than 30 %  as the volume of the platform structures is reduced drastically and the weight is cut by two-thirds.

Jan Mrosik, CEO of the Energy Management Division at Siemens said "As the only provider on the market, we have already successfully commissioned four offshore direct-current connection projects. Now we are applying our experience directly to the next generation of direct-current grid connections. Our new solution will play a major role in decreasing the cost of offshore wind power below ten cents per kilowatt hour by 2020. This is how we plan to make the direct- current technology used in Germany more interesting  to other markets, too.”

This pioneering research aimed at developing the grid infrastructure to accommodate the infeed of renewable energy is funded by German Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy.