Renewable energy is a hot topic right now. Most countries globally are investing in renewable energy generation to accelerate the move toward carbon neutrality. The following technologies are not only growing steadily, but they are also mainstream now:

  • Onshore and offshore wind
  • Onshore solar farms
  • Onshore battery storage

Other renewable technologies are also being researched and developed (e.g. wave, tidal, other storage technologies), and we will start to see more innovative renewable energy deployments in the foreseeable future.

Some countries are leading the push on integrating renewable energy into the grid. China and the UK are examples of countries leading the way with large deployments of wind capacity (both onshore and offshore). Europe in general is setting big targets for offshore wind and the US is also predicted to become a major offshore wind energy producer in the coming decade. Cisco can help with all these renewable energy technologies but for the purpose of this discussion, let’s focus on the complexities offshore wind farms are facing and the solutions Cisco offers.

Deploying and operating these renewable technologies can be challenging: they need to operate in harsh and remote locations, a secure and reliable network is required, and that network needs to work flawlessly with the various OT and IT technologies that form the solution.

This is where Cisco IoT solutions provide the foundation for the network.

Offshore wind farms are large infrastructure deployments with multiple locations. They require:

  • Onshore substation
  • Offshore substation (platform offshore)
  • Offshore wind turbines (ranging from 50 to 300 turbines)
  • Onshore operations and maintenance offices
  • Offshore Service Operations Vessels (worker accommodation, offices, and workshops while offshore)

Cisco has developed a complete Validated Design for these offshore wind farm projects. It provides customers with a blueprint solution for all phases of a project (from specification and procurement to deployment).

The solution includes networking infrastructure from the offshore wind turbine itself through the offshore platforms to the onshore WAN interface point and connectivity to the wind farm operators control center.

The Cisco CVD is modular to allow for varying wind farm sizes (i.e. design can flex to cope with increased number of turbines), provides resilient architectures to allow for fault conditions, and includes cyber security built in from the start.

Offshore wind farms are very challenging to deploy, and automation is a key component during the deployment phase. Cisco DNA Center provides a single platform to allow zero touch deployment of infrastructure (switch and routers) at Day 0 and the ongoing management of the network.

Additional use cases include Service Operations Vessel (SOV) connectivity using Cisco Ultra-Reliable Wireless Backhaul to provide high bandwidth connectivity while the SOV is offshore in the windfarm.

The Cisco Offshore Wind CVD provides the following benefits:

  • Pre-validated design and configurations
  • Product choices and validated firmware versions
  • Automation through plug and play capabilities in Cisco products
  • Centralized security policies including segregation of services
  • Modular designs to flex for bigger projects
  • Validated resilient topologies
  • Platform architecture to support existing and future devices
  • Validated QOS and security configurations

In summary, the offshore wind farm solution provides a proven and validated blueprint for connecting devices and production assets, improving industrial security, and improving data access and operating reliability. Following this best practice blueprint with Cisco market-leading technologies will help decrease deployment time, decrease risk, decrease complexity, and improve overall security and operating uptime. The Cisco Validated Design will be available end of March. To learn more now, check out the Solution Brief for Renewable Energy— Offshore Wind.

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Marcus Smith

Utilities Solution Manager

IoT Product Management