The Energy Technologies Institute (ETI) is to invest £25m into an open-access wind-turbine drive-train test rig.
The indoor rig, available for commercial testing from June 2013, will be sited at Narec in Blyth, Northumberland, and will be capable of testing complete drive trains and nacelles up to 15MW.
The ETI is investing in the Narec facility by providing funding to a consortium of Converteam and MTS Systems for the design, development and commissioning of the test rig.
The rig — capable of creating the dynamic conditions that wind turbines would expect to see when installed offshore — has been designed to allow the whole turbine nacelle to be tested in a purpose-built onshore test facility before being exposed to the challenging offshore conditions.
Preparatory construction and infrastructure works have already commenced at Narec, ahead of the start of building construction later this year.
Andrew Mill, chief executive officer of Narec, said: ‘This terrific news is the culmination of nearly three years of work on the project, where we have identified industry requirements for such a facility and then gathered the necessary support to make it a reality for the UK.
‘Narec is looking forward to working with the appointed consortium to deliver a world-leading asset that will generate a substantial return for the UK economy by assisting the acceleration of the deployment of large-scale offshore wind energy.