The Fujin drive train test facility.
The Fujin drive train test facility.

By Renewable Energy Focus staff

The indoor test rig will be able to test offshore wind turbine drive trains and nacelles up to 15 MW from June 2013.

The £25m funding is going to a consortium of Converteam and MTS Systems Corporation for the design, development and commissioning of the test facility at Narec’s Blythe site in Northumberland.

ETI CEO, Dr David Clarke, says: “This is one of the biggest projects the ETI has been involved with to date and highlights the importance of ensuring offshore wind can be used as a sustainable, affordable energy source for the UK.”

He adds: “Larger, more powerful wind turbines will need more rigorous testing and development before they are deployed in large numbers off the UK’s coasts. It is faster, cheaper and more effective to do this on land in a controlled, indoor, world-class facility than it is to try and do it for the first time out in the North Sea.”

Andrew Mill, CEO at Narec, comments: “Demand for the facility is high with a number of wind turbine manufacturers already having made a clear commitment to undertake accelerated lifetime testing of their prototype machines in the 5-10 MW range at Narec from 2013.

“Nare is providing the route to market for manufacturers looking to sell their wind turbines into the UK for Crown Estate Round 3 developments. Our new 100 m wind turbine blade testing facility and a 3 MW drive train test facility for both wind and marine applications will be commissioned net year. This 15 MW facility will be operational in summer 2013 and we hope to have the first deployments at our proposed offshore demonstration facility in 2014.”