15MW wind turbine test rig opens in Blyth

An open access facility to test offshore wind turbine technologies is being built in Blyth.

The National Renewable Energy Centre (Narec) which will operate the facility expects to use it initially to test prototype and early development models in the 4-7MW class, and then for the next generation of 8-10MW machines.

Andrew Mill, chief executive at Narec, said: "This facility will get new technologies ready for deployment offshore more quickly, ironing out any problems in a controlled, low risk and confidential environment."

The 3000m2 facility will be one of the world's largest for accelerated life testing of offshore wind turbines. Due to its scale the assembly of the 15MW capacity test rig is being done in three phases onsite; Permanent Magnet Motor (PMM), Force Application System (FAS) and the support systems. Two 250tonne capacity cranes have been installed in the hall and components already delivered to the site include a 6m diameter motor rotor drum, weighing 120tonnes.

The rig is on schedule to be available for the arrival of a commissioning turbine nacelle this summer. It will be an open access facility; open to developers of turbines up to 10MW at 50% over power.

Justin Cunningham

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