A fuzzy evidential reasoning based approach for submarine power cable routing selection for offshore wind farms


Renewable energy sources have been prioritized over fossil fuels for comparatively superior sustainability, environmental and climate benefits. In particular, offshore wind farms, utilizing the large marine space with strong wind potential, have significantly developed over the past few decades.  Generally, submarine power cables are used for transmitting power from the offshore wind farms to the onshore facilities. These cables have a significant impact on the navigation system and are susceptible to damages caused mainly by human factors such as fishing and shipping. To this end, an optimized submarine power cable routing selection criterion is highly desirable for better decision making in terms of technical feasibility, safety, reliability and cost of laying, operating and maintaining of the power cables.

Fuzzy logic approaches have gained a lot of interest in developing reasonable decisions through qualitative and quantitative description of various factors using fuzzy sets. However, most of these methods use traditional rules to describe the relationship between the input and output variables which may result in a loss of useful information. In an attempt to address this problem, Dr. Dan Jiang and Dr.  Xuefeng Yang from Chongqing Jiaotong University in collaboration with Dr. Bing Wu from the Wuhan University of Technology and Professor Van Gelder from the Delft University of Technology developed evident reasoning approach to deal with uncertainty and incomplete information for effective submarine power cable routing selection of offshore wind farms. This approach was fundamentally based on a three-layer decision-making approach considering four major attributes; routing condition, cable reliability, navigational environment, and special zones. Their work is currently published in the journal, Ocean Engineering.

Based on the belief degree, extended IF-THEN rules were constructed for inference purposes. A three-layer decision-making framework was then established after the fuzzification of the input variables. The authors observed that evident reasoning and index value were essential items in obtaining optimal routing selection from the submarine power cable candidates. As such, this is a promising method for field application. Specifically, the proposed approach was validated by describing its application to ZheNeng offshore wind farm in the East Chinese Sea.  From the analysis and comparison of three submarine power cable routings, the one with the best navigational environment and conditions for channel crossover was regarded as the best. This was also attributed to its good performance in the attributes of cable reliability and special zones. Unlike other routings, the best submarine power cable routing was less prone to damages initiated by human activities due to minimal interaction with ship navigation.

Generally, the decision made by the proposed method were in agreement with the existing results. Despite the remarkable results, the study has some limitations including limited data since the input variables are derived from the existing data sources. Consequently, the decision attributes and influencing factors need to be adjusted by specific characteristics.   Altogether, the study insights provide essential information that will be of great importance in future improvement of the submarine power cable routing selection by addressing some of the inherent limitations.

About the author

Dr. Dan Jiang is an assistant professor in School of Shipping and Naval Architecture, Chongqing Jiaotong University. She obtained her PhD and BSc degrees in School of Navigation, Wuhan University of Technology, specialized in Transportation Engineering and Control. From January 2017, she started working as an assistant professor in Chongqing Jiaotong University. From March 2019 to March 2020, she was sponsored by China Scholarship Council as a visiting scholar in Section of Safety and Security Science, Delft University of Technology, the Netherlands.

Her research interests focus on complexity of the water traffic system which involves human, ship and the environment. Much of the work is concerned with the risk analysis and decision making in the water traffic system. Furthermore, her interest is also on revealing the failure mode of the information exchange in the water traffic system, so as to find the inner relationship between the information failure and the external risk. Her current research is on the project “Dynamic risk assessment of ship traffic in complex waters” granted by the National Natural Science Foundation of China.

About the author

Dr. Xuefeng Yang is an assistant professor in School of Shipping and Naval Architecture, Chongqing Jiaotong University. He obtained his PhD and BSc degrees in School of Navigation, Dalian Maritime University, specialized in Water Transportation Engineering and Control. From January 2017, he started working as an assistant professor in Chongqing Jiaotong University. His research interests include maritime security, as well as the maritime intelligent system.


About the author

Prof. dr.ir. Pieter van Gelder is full-time professor of safety science at the faculty of technology, policy and management of Delft University of Technology, and director of the TU Delft Safety and Security Institute (DSyS).He has been involved in research and education on safety and reliability since 1991. His research interests are in risk-analysis and optimisation of systems, processes and structures. He teaches 4th and 5th year courses at TU Delft and conducts research on new methods and techniques in risk analysis. Van Gelder has authored and co-authored over 300 conferences, journal papers, and several books in the field of risk and safety (3062 citations, H-Index 24 according to Google-Scholar) and has supervised over 50 MSc-students and 15 PhD-students.

He is, and has been, project leader in several national – and EU research projects (amongst others RAIN (Risk Analysis of Infrastructure Networks for Extreme Weather Events), iNteg-Risk (a large scale EU integrating project on integrated risk management in industrial systems), FLOODSITE (Integrated flood risk analysis and management), SMARTEST (Smart Resilience Technology, Systems and Tools) and MATRIX (New Multi-HAzard and MulTi-RIsK Assessment MethodS for Europe)). Van Gelder is furthermore member in a number of Technical Programme Boards and Scientific Committees of annual international conferences (such as the ESREL and IPW series (International Probabilistic Workshop)). He is coeditor and reviewer of several journals (RESS (Reliability Engineering and System Safety) and AJSE (Arabian Journal of Science and Engineering)). Van Gelder is furthermore programme director of the post-academic programme MoSHE (Management of Safety, Health and Environment).

About the author

Dr. Bing Wu received his B.Eng. degree in navigation technology, M.Eng. degree in traffic information engineering and control, and PhD in traffic engineering from Wuhan University of Technology in Wuhan, China, in 2008, 2012, and 2016 respectively. During the period from 2014 to 2015, He was a joint PhD student in University of Lisbon. He received the Hongkong Scholars award in 2017 and worked as a postdoc in The Hong Kong Polytechnic University for 2 years. He is currently an Associate Professor with the intelligent transportation system center, WUT. His main research interest includes risk analysis, decision making and human reliability analysis for maritime transportation. He has published more than 40 papers in international journals and conferences, such as Risk Analysis, Safety Science, Accident Analysis and Prevention, Ocean Engineering. He is also reviewers of several international journals.


Jiang, D., Wu, B., Yang, X., & Van Gelder, P. (2019). A fuzzy evidential reasoning based approach for submarine power cable routing selection for offshore wind farms. Ocean Engineering, 193, 106616.

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