Everything you didn’t know you should know about subsea export cables

You may not currently think much about subsea export cables or even know what they are. But as the offshore wind revolution ramps up for Americans in particular, all the components that transport clean energy from wind turbines to US households will become more familiar. That’s where Nexans comes in. The Paris-based global cable company is going to provide vital subsea export cables to three offshore wind projects in the United States, and those cables will bring the power to the mainland.

Electrek spoke with Ragnhild Katteland, executive vice president, subsea & land systems business group at Nexans and CEO of Nexans Norway, about the big US offshore wind projects the company is a part of, what she thinks makes the US offshore wind market unique, and what she predicts will happen in the US offshore wind market in 2023.

Electrek: What does Nexans do, and what is the company’s current role in the US offshore wind revolution?

Ragnhild Katteland: Nexans designs, manufactures, and installs subsea export cable systems for offshore wind farms. We believe that offshore wind is one of the most effective solutions in overcoming the challenges associated with climate change. Nexans makes and delivers cables from the only subsea high-voltage cable manufacturing facility in the US.

Electrek: At what stage are the US projects that Nexans is participating in?

Ragnhild Katteland: Nexans has signed three contracts to date for the US market. The first and second project are Southfork Wind Farm and Revolution Wind, both being developed by Orsted and Eversource. The cables are currently being manufactured at our facility in South Carolina, the only facility of its kind on US soil. Empire Wind, developed by Equinor and BP, is another project for which we will deliver a full turnkey export cable system solution, and we have more East Coast projects in the pipeline.

Electrek: What does Nexans predict will happen in the US offshore wind market in 2023?

Ragnhild Katteland: With construction beginning on key offshore wind farms in the Northeast and other projects reaching different milestones and being finalized across the country, 2023 will be a ramp-up year for growth in offshore wind, and we are excited to be part of this important journey for what the future will hold from then through 2030.

Electrek: Tell me three facts that everyone should know about subsea export cables.

Ragnhild Katteland: One, without subsea export cables, there would be no electricity delivered to the onshore grid and to the consumers.

Two, they come in a variety of types, sizes, and voltage levels such as AC and DC cables, and are custom-made for each offshore wind farm.

Three, subsea interconnectors are another crucial part of electrical infrastructure and help deliver sustainable electricity from areas with a high potential for generation to places with higher demand.

Read more: The world’s longest subsea cable will send clean energy from Morocco to the UK

Photos: Nexans


Ragnhild Kattleland has held various management positions in engineering, sales, purchasing and project management since she joined Nexans (previously Alcatel) in 1993. Since March 2018, she has been vice president of Subsea & Land Systems Business Group, and CEO of Nexans Norway, since September 2019.


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Michelle Lewis

Michelle Lewis is a writer and editor on Electrek and an editor on DroneDJ, 9to5Mac, and 9to5Google. She lives in White River Junction, Vermont. She has previously worked for Fast Company, the Guardian, News Deeply, Time, and others. Message Michelle on Twitter or at michelle@9to5mac.com. Check out her personal blog.