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Most definitions of smart grids include the integration of renewables into the generation system. According to the National Grid in the UK the renewables share is approximately 40% of generation in the UK and of that wind is the largest contributing renewable with onshore and offshore being roughly equal by percentage.

In the case of offshore wind, the turbines are all ultimately connected to an offshore substation which is similar in appearance to a traditional oil and gas platform. The main function of the substation is to transform the power arriving from the turbines at 33kV to 150kV for onward transmission to the grid. The turbines are connected to the substation by undersea cables which also carry fibre for the transmission of SCADA-type data to provide information about all aspects of the turbine’s performance.

The needs of the offshore substation are similar to traditional Oil and gas in that the platform should be equipped with PAGA (public address and general alarm) CCTV (closed circuit TV) LAN and WAN (local area and wide area networks) as well as navigational elements such as AIS (automatic identification system) and NDB (non-directional beacon) as well as connectivity via microwave radio or VSAT satellite systems.

MMX is well-positioned to advise EPCs (engineering and procurement contractors) as well as the operators of such platforms on the design, installation and maintenance of such systems. We are a full-service systems integrator specialising in telecom and related systems and can perform the installation at the shipyard or once the platform is in situ. We commonly perform FAT (factory acceptance testing) in order to prove functionality as per our clients’ brief and are familiar with the documentation associated with such tasks in an offshore setting.

One of our key points of difference for clients is not only our in-house design and system integration expertise but also the fact that we provide teams for offshore installation work and provide Level 3 IRATA technicians offshore. This means that we are one of the few companies specialising in offshore energy that can do design, system integration, installation and maintenance. This means that the customer does not need to separately arrange for engineering and rope access as we are able to perform all aspects. This greatly reduces the complexity for clients in terms of the management of offshore telecom activities.