Tyne & Wear

Northumberland wind turbine test centre gets £25m boost

A Northumberland-based testing centre for next-generation wind turbines is to get a £25m boost.

Blyth's National Renewable Energy Centre (Narec) allows offshore turbines to be tested onshore.

Now the Energy Technologies Institute (ETI) has announced it is investing in a facility to test drive trains and nacelles for commercial wind farms.

Business Secretary Vince Cable welcomed the news as further evidence of the UK's dominance in wind farm technology.

The £30m Narec complex recreates the conditions turbines face when they are installed offshore.

'More effective'

Chief executive of ETI, Dr David Clarke, said: "This is one of the biggest projects we have been involved with and highlights the importance of ensuring offshore wind can be used as a sustainable and affordable energy source for the UK.

"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 of Narec, said: "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."

The new testing rig is expected to be working by June 2013.

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