British large-scale wind turbines test facility

The Energy Technologies Institute (ETI) has submitted its plans for the construction of a new drive-train test facility for offshore large-scale – up to 15 MW – wind turbines.

The wind energy plant will be constructed at the New and Renewable Energy Center (NAREC) in Blythe, Northumberland county (northern England). Plans to design the world’s largest open access offshore wind turbine drive train test rig have been announced by the UK’s Energy Technologies Institute (ETI).

Two companies – Converteam and HORIBA Instruments – are delivering competing designs for an indoor test-rig capable of dynamically testing a complete wind turbine drive train and nacelle with input power up to 15MW.

"This facility will allow wind turbine manufacturers to test the reliability of their equipment under realistic load conditions without the expense and risk of deploying them wind farm onshore", said David Clarke, Chief Executive of ETI , who added: "It will also offer opportunities to component suppliers and research teams who will be able to test new technologies and designs more comprehensively."

According to Paul Drayson, Minister for Science and Innovation at the Department for Business Innovation and Skills, "testing is key for manufacturers. The facility proposed by the ETI will complement projects already underway. In December Government already announced £11.5 million (13 million euros) towards a blade-test facility at the NAREC, which will provide a capability to test blades up to 100 meters in length".

ETI Chief Executive Dr David Clarke said: “We are designing this to be a world-class facility for the offshore wind energy industry and to support the UK Government’s target of establishing 33 GW of offshore wind power capacity by 2020."

The Energy Technologies Institute is a UK based company formed from global industries and the UK Government.