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Deepak Seth's picture
Sr. Adviser Independent

Deepak Seth was most recently Principal Director, Technology Consulting at Accenture. He provided Innovation and Thought Leadership as part of Accenture's CIO Advisory practice for clients in the...

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  • Aug 7, 2020

Some out of the box thinking here- if internet can "transported" via under sea cables then why not electricity?

Matt Chester's picture
Matt Chester on Aug 7, 2020

Out of the box thinking will be necessary in the coming years-- I'll be eager to see if this is WAY TOO out the box, or the kind of moonshot that can really change the landscape of how we do things. Where do you think it lies, Deepak?

Deepak Seth's picture
Deepak Seth on Aug 10, 2020

Seems like though laying cable underwater is cheaper than stringing up aerial transmission lines, the cost is driven up by the need to convert AC to DC .

From another article:

"And underwater lines are still more expensive than lines on transmission towers. Mr. Stern’s 65-mile cable cost about $600 million, and a 53-mile cable under San Francisco Bay cost about $505 million. Much of the cost in each case is to transform the electricity to direct current, a form that is easier to use in buried cables. Standard lines hung on towers run from $1 million to $4 million a mile, depending on terrain and other factors. If more underwater lines are built, the higher costs would have a small impact on electric bills."

Not sure what research is underway to reduce the cost of conversion to DC.

Bob Meinetz's picture
Bob Meinetz on Aug 8, 2020

Anyone considering battery capacity a substitute for dispatchable generation should have the number 8,760 hard-wired into their consciousness. It's a constant - the number of hours in a year. Dividing any country's annual energy consumption by it will yield the country's average rate of consumption (power). Singapore annually consumes 50,000 GWh of energy, so the country is consuming energy at a rate of 5.7 GW (billion watts), averaged over the year.

At that rate, Singapore will consume the entire capacity of Sun Cable's 22 GWh battery pack in 4 hours. So whenever the wind doesn't blow for more than 4 hours, its $30+ billion project will be useless. According to EIA, 22 gigawatthours (GWh) of battery storage will cost USD 26.4 billion. They'll need to be replaced every 10-12 years.

Is there an electrical engineer in the house? Tell him to go home, we've got a big renewables project to sell.

Roger Arnold's picture
Roger Arnold on Aug 9, 2020

To call this "ambitious" is an understatement. The proposed undersea power cable would be 7x longer than the next-longest undersea power cable. That's the NorNed power cable linking Norway and the Netherlands. Per Wikipedia, the capacity of the NorNed cable is 700 MW -- less than a tenth of what's proposed in this project. 

Such a long, high capacity undersea power cable may be technically possible, but whether it would make economic sense is a different story. Singapore might do better building a cluster of nuclear plants, or importing floating nuclear plants from Russia.

Deepak Seth's picture
Deepak Seth on Aug 10, 2020

Great point. I am sure the bankers and investors will validate the economics. Here's another interesting article about underwater cables in the US :

"The cost of putting a cable under water can be lower than burying cables on land, because workers can lay the cables from giant reels, allowing stretches of more than a mile with no splices. "


Deepak Seth's picture
Deepak Seth on Aug 10, 2020

Per the article, the source of the power is not wind but a solar array, also the intent is to meet 1/5th of the island's power needs not its entirety. The article is silent on the demand side but I am guessing there may be enough discrete demand on the island whose consumption profile can match the supply/generation profile of this source. The jury is still out it seems.

Deepak Seth's picture
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