In an offshore wind farm (OWF), the turbines are connected to a transformer by cable routes that cannot cross each other. Finding the minimum cost array cable layout thus amounts to a vehicle routing problem with the additional constraints that the routes must be embedded in the plane. For this problem, both exact and heuristic methods are of interest. We optimize cable layouts for real-world OWFs by a hop-indexed integer programming formulation, and develop a heuristic for computing layouts based on the Clarke and Wright savings heuristic for vehicle routing. Our heuristic computes layouts on average only 2% more expensive than the optimal layout. Finally, we present two problem extensions arising from real-world OWF cable layouts, and adapt the integer programming formulation to one of them. The thus obtained optimal layouts are up to 13% cheaper than the actually installed layouts.
Journal of the Operational Research Society, 2014, p. 1-9