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The installation of the wind turbines and their support structures is a major factor in the design of offshore wind farms, with the specific challenge of having to perform multiple repeated operations in difficult offshore locations. As well as being a significant contributor to the capital cost, the installation process may drive the selection of support structure technology.
Figure 5.12 Heavy lift (shear-leg) vessel
The substation installation is also a major operation, albeit a single one, unlike the wind turbine and wind turbine foundation installation, and therefore much more conventional in the offshore industry. A large crane vessel is likely to be required – either a shear-leg crane or other heavy lift unit. Alternatively, self-installing substation designs may find an increasing role in the future.
Cable installation is a significant industry sector, with specialist design and planning, and installation vessels and equipment. The design and planning of the cable installation is an early activity, covering:
- Identification of hazards to cables;
- Site investigation to identify seabed properties (geophysical survey, vibrocore sampling, cone penetrometer tests, boreholes);
- Development of burial protection indices;
- Scour protection;
- Cable route selection;
- Cable transport; and
- Vessel and equipment selection.
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