Nexans in Australian HV wind farm cable deal

December 10, 2018 //By Nick Flaherty
Nexans in Australian HV wind farm cable deal
French cable giant Nexans is working with an Australian company on a €12m (A$20m) project to provide a complete collector cable service for the largest wind farm in the southern hemisphere.

The 530 MW Stockyard Hill Wind Farm in Victoria will have 149 turbines capable of producing enough electricity to power around 390,000 homes, and uses a new network optimisation to reduce the cost of the construction. Nexans is providing over 275km of its Windlink cables with with aluminium conductor cross-sections ranging from 95 mm2 to 1,000 mm2 and manufactured at Nexans China facility in Yanggu in China. As part of the deal, Nexans Olex subsidiary Nexans Australmold is also supplying the underground junction cabinets for the cables, the indoor terminations for the substation connections and the tower end ring main unit (RMU) connections.

The joint venture with Marais Laying Technologies Australia, a subsidiary of Tesmec, covers the design, manufacturing, supply, installation and testing of the cable network.  Marais brings expertise in the automated trenching and laying of long lengths of single-core cable. The Marais SMC 200 R Trencher will be used to cut around 130 km of narrow trench while simultaneously laying a range of 33kV high voltage cables and backfilling. The highly automated approach provides close control of the trenching process and enables the cross-section of the trench to be minimized while still providing the protection essential to maintain the cable ratings.

The Nexans Research Centre in Lyon, France, helped optimise the groupings of the wind turbines and the system layout and trench cross-sections to minimise the cost of the project. By avoiding splitting the design work among different companies involved in wind and solar farm construction, the service allows developers to be more efficient and reduce the cost while offering a warranty across the whole energy collector system. For the project, the design optimization service has allowed to take into account the detailed analysis of the soil thermal resistivity and its effect on cable temperature and has led to the redesign of the MV collector system to reduce the length and dimensions of trenches while protecting cable current ratings.

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