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UK ramps up wind turbine testing capabilities

English research centre breaks ground on 15MW testing facility as permission is secured for Scottish offshore wind test site

The SSE offshore wind testing site will be Scotland's first
The SSE offshore wind testing site will be Scotland's first

Progress has been made in developing advanced wind testing facilities set to increase turbine capabilities across the UK. Wind power research centre Narec has broke ground on its 15MW wind turbine drivetrain testing facility in north east England. Meanwhile, Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE) has secured planning permission for an offshore wind turbine testing centre in Ayrshire, Scotland.

Due to be completed in summer 2013, the GBP 35m site at Narec will offer the “most advanced” wind turbine drive testing facility of its kind, providing six degrees of freedom for applying load forces.

Tony Quinn, director of major projects and assets at Narec, said the new facility will provide the research centre with “a controlled environment to test the next generation of offshore turbines in accordance with international standards, before they are deployed in large numbers offshore”.

SSE would not be drawn on its plans for the Ayrshire testing facility, saying “it was too early” to reveal what technologies would be developed there. But it did reveal that up to three prototype turbines will be tested at the site over a period of five years.

Construction on the SSE centre is planned for late 2012, with operations set to commence early 2013.

Developments in wind technologies will be a major focus at BigSwitch Offshore Wind, a global wind event, which Renewable Energy Technology (RET) is a proud sponsor. The event, which is taking place in Glasgow on 26th and 27th June, aims to advance technological developments across the global offshore wind industry. For more information on the event, please email RET Editor Heath Reidy at heath.reidy@bric.com.