Submarine Electricity to Provide More Directional Boring Projects

Submarine electricity transmission systems are being used more frequently for long and short hauls in undersea, lake, and river interconnection applications, allowing transmission in areas where water has made underground or overhead solutions impossible. With at least 140 new high-voltage direct current (HVDC) and high-voltage alternating current (HVAC) systems currently being deployed or in planning stages, this highly specialized market is expected to experience rapid growth in the near future. 

Submarine cables usually require directional boring of the shore crossings. Many river and lake submarine cables are installed entirely by directional boring (horizontal directional drilling, HDD). The growth of the market means more directional boring projects.

One of the major factors driving the growth in the market is connecting offshore wind generation to the mainland and reconfiguring or expanding interconnections between states, countries, and regions,” says James McCray, senior research analyst with Navigant Research. “Submarine technologies are helping to address changing electric generation mixes and isolated national grids are also being interconnected for security, balance, and the sale of excess electricity in cross-border exchanges.”

Europe’s transmission system currently requires extensive reconfiguration and expansion to deal with coal and nuclear generation plant retirements and the rapid growth of offshore and onshore wind generation in the Nordic region, as well as in other remote offshore areas. Because of this, the European market, which currently represents more than 70 percent of regional market share, will likely account for more than half of the global submarine cable projects during the next decade. North America is lagging far behind Europe in the use of offshore wind generation.