Andy Williamson, Director of Business Development at NaREC, told Renewable Energy Focus at the British Wind Energy Association’s BWEA31 in Liverpool on 21 October that the UK government is funding NaREC to give the UK an advantage in offshore renewable energy.

NaREC is currently building a new test centre at its location in Blythe, and according to Williamson, the centre will be able to test offshore wind turbine blades of up to 100 m. It should also be able to test nacelles up to 15 MW.

NaREC has also been given £10 million from the UK government to build a small scale marine test stand. NaREC has three docs for testing wave, tidal,and sub-sea devices such as wind turbine foundations, floating platforms, installation and training.

Looking ahead to a future with more offshore marine and wind energy, Williamson told Renewable Energy Focus that it will be a challenge to build power plants offshore as the offshore environment makes things like installation and infrastructure difficult, but that the technology “will get us there”.

The UK will introduce feed-in tariffs (FiTs) from April 2010, and Williamson said this will affect NaREC, as renewable energy providers wishing to benefit from the FiT must have accreditation under the microgeneration certification scheme (MSC). NaREC is an approved MSC accrediter.

Williamson said also larger installations such as large wind turbines and even whole renewable energy power plants will be certified and accredited, as the UK government wants to avoid the UK renewable energy market being flooded with low cost, low quality technology.