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Industry must face up to growing cable failures

EUROPE: Cable manufacturers, installers and offshore wind farm developers must work more closely together to reduce failure rates of power cables in the operational phase.

Operational failures now make up about 80% in value of all cable-related claims
Operational failures now make up about 80% in value of all cable-related claims

Participants at the Windpower Monthly Offshore Cables: Installation, Design and Repair forum in London called for installation and operational learning to be fed back to cable designers and fabricators to improve the performance of cables.

Operational failures now make up about 80% in value of all cable-related claims, a delegate from the insurance industry claimed.

Figures for 2016 are not yet available, but in 2015 cable-related insurance claims were estimated at €60 million, with incorrect installation blamed for most faults.

"Failures within one year of installation are becoming more frequent," an insurance expert said. But without detailed information it was impossible to know exactly why the cable failed and to learn from mistakes, he added.

Estimates in 2006 on the frequency and complexity of cable failures in offshore wind by international electric power systems body Cigre have proved wrong by a factor of three, the conference heard. "The problems are bigger than expected."

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