In 2016, with an already well-established technology development partnership, the Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult worked with JDR Cables to bring its pioneering 66kV cable technology to market, providing electrical testing throughout its development, qualification and testing programmes.
As JDR looked to break into the renewables market from oil and gas, the scaling up of cable voltage from 33kV to 66kV was essential in response to the increase in size and capacity of offshore wind farms, placing greater demands on the subsea cables that connect the turbines and substations. By doubling the voltage of the industry-standard 33kV inter-array cable, JDR’s technology allows increased transmission between turbines at higher-capacity wind farms – a vital factor in reducing the cost of offshore wind and essential to JDR’s ability to compete in the global market and expand its UK operations.
The Catapult’s high voltage laboratory in Blyth is one of the few facilities in the world which can test 66kV systems.
As a long-term test partner of JDR Cables, the Catapult developed a bespoke facility to validate and de-risk the new cables, giving the Northeast-based firm – and its potential clients – the confidence that this first-of-its-kind technology can withstand the higher loads and harsh conditions offshore.
JDR’s subsequent UK and global market success, with orders for almost 1000km of 66kV cables, has been pivotal to their announcement of a £130 million investment in a new North-East cable manufacturing plant, creating 170 highly skilled jobs and safeguarding 270 more.