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    Windfarm first for Subocean

    Projects and Operations // October 27, 2009

    Polar Prince, a DP2 vessel, was used to install undersea power cables.

    Subocean Group has pioneered what it claims is "a renewable industry milestone" by becoming the first company to use a DP vessel equipped with ploughing technology to install cables in the windfarm market. The subsea construction company’s innovative approach has cut cable installation time by 50 per cent, providing the marine renewables’ sector with a more cost-effective and efficient solution.
    Using its specially-adapted cable installation vessel Polar Prince. The company installed four power cables 1m under the seabed in 30m of water on the world’s first 100 Wind Turbine Generator (WTB) development – Vattenfall’s Thanet Offshore Windfarm, off Ramsgate on the Kent coast. Subocean secured the £30 million contract for this earlier this year.
    The cables were each installed within 24 hours which, compared with conventional methods, represents a significant timescale reduction in both operational activity and exposure to adverse weather conditions. The two cables successfully installed are the first of 100 inter Array cables to be embedded. 
    Mike Daniel, Subocean’s operations director, said: “This is an important milestone not just for Subocean but for the industry where resources, including vessels, and expertise are limited. To successfully achieve a faster installation and on a high-profile project like the Thanet development is a major step forward in the market.
    Polar Prince’s capabilities are much more advanced than conventional barges because it does not require anchors to be run while manoeuvring and the vessel is therefore significantly quicker. Traditional barge methods take at least two days to lay and bury one cable so for Subocean to save a day’s operational activity for one cable is exceptional particularly when you put it into full project perspective - the Thanet project alone involves laying 100 cables.” 
    Polar Prince also withstands hostile weather conditions. During the cable installation on Thanet, the Polar Prince remained on site during winds of up to 60 knotts when all other vessels retreated to the port for shelter.”    
    Subcocean chartered Polar Prince, a DP2 subsea support vessel, in what represented a £30 million investment for the company. The vessel was fitted with Subocean cable laying and burial equipment including tensioners, haulers, cable tank and plough.
    The Thanet development will provide a maximum 300MW of electrical generation, which is sufficient to provide electricity for 240,000 homes, and will meet a significant proportion of the energy needs for east Kent.
    Last month, the Aberdeen-headquartered company won a top renewables accolade at a prestigious business awards ceremony. The Group, which is one of the UK’s largest market leaders in specialist high performance subsea cable installation and burial solutions, was named the best Renewable Energy company at the Aberdeen and Grampian Chamber of Commerce’s Northern Star awards.

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