Hitachi ABB Power Grids Ltd., India recently launched a portfolio of transformers for floating offshore substations for offshore wind energy farms. Hitachi ABB has designed these transformers to withstand challenging offshore environment and physically demanding conditions on floating structures.
Hitachi ABB Power Grids’ Offshore Transformer Portfolio
Transformers and shunt reactors are one of the essential equipment in grid infrastructure for transmission of electricity generated by offshore wind farms. Hitachi ABB Power Grids’ offshore transformer portfolio includes a range of collector step-up transformers, earthing transformers and shunt reactors for floating substations plus wind turbine transformers for floating wind turbines.
Hitachi ABB in its product portfolio leaflet stated that its offshore transformers withstand dynamic motions, accelerations and inclinations coming from normal floating operations and from extreme-weather conditions with lightweight and modular design. These offshore transformers also come with specially designed active part, tank, tap changer, accessories and external components.
Challenges Faced while Building Offshore Wind Farms
Surrounded by water on three sides, India is blessed with a coastline of about 7,600 Km, but building offshore wind energy farms presents many challenges beyond the harsh saltwater environment. So far only a small fraction of offshore potential has been exploited in India as in many areas the seabed depth is not suitable.
In addition, over their entire lifetime, offshore wind farms are constantly in motion and can be exposed to vibrations and shocks from waves up to 15 metres in height.
Ongoing Efforts to Harness Offshore Wind Energy in India
In June 2018, MNRE had set a target of 5 GW for offshore wind installations in India by 2022 and 30 GW by 2030. However, until now zero offshore wind energy farm has been commissioned in India. The first 1 GW offshore wind energy project is to be built in Gulf of Khambat (Gujarat) but the tender has not yet been finalised by MNRE.
State run companies NTPC and ONGC also signed an MoU on 22nd May 2020 to explore setting up offshore wind and other renewable energy projects in India and overseas.
Despite the challenges faced in set-up, offshore wind farms are still more attractive option for Wind energy harnessing than onshore wind turbines.
According to the website of Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE), Govt. of India ‘Absence of any obstruction in the sea offers much better quality of wind and its conversion to electrical energy. Offshore wind turbines are much larger in size (in range of 5 to 10 MW per turbine) as against 2-3 MW of an onshore wind turbine. While, the cost per MW for offshore turbines are higher because of stronger structures and foundations needed in marine environment, the desirable tariffs can be achieved on account of higher efficiencies of these turbines after development of the eco system’.
The higher cost to build offshore turbines can be easily compensated with their higher output.
About Hitachi ABB Power Grids Ltd.: The company is listed in the Indian stock exchanges under the legal entity ABB Power Products and Systems India Ltd. Hitachi ABB Power Grids serves utility, industry, and infrastructure customers in the areas like sustainable mobility, smart cities, energy storage, and data centres.