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Wave Energy Converters (WECs) have been in development for a number of decades and some devices are now close to becoming a commercial reality. As such, pilot projects are being developed, particularly in the UK and Ireland, to deploy WECs on a pre-commercial array scale. There is little experience in the wave energy or utility industry of designing and installing electrical networks for WEC arrays with the closest comparison being offshore wind farms. There are some key features of WECs which will ultimately dictate thatthe electrical configuration differs from that of offshore wind farms.
This paper investigates the potential representative electrical network configurations for small (10MW), medium (40MW) and large scale (150MW) ‘wave farms’ in order to establish a development path for such projects. The configurations are evaluated for efficiency (power loss), redundancy and short circuit levels. Key interfaces in the electrical infrastructure are identified and discussed. This paper also identifies the key differences between offshore wind farm electrical networks.
F. Sharkey, M.Conlon, K Gauhgan. Investigation of Wave Farm Electrical Network Configurations. World Renewable Energy Congress 2011.