UK govt announces £86m wind for world’s most advanced wind turbine test facility

The world’s most advanced wind turbine test facility will be built in the North of England after the government announced £86 million in funding for the project.

The wind turbines will feature 150m long blades that are three times the length of the Angel of the North’s wingspan and will help prevent millions of tonnes of CO2 emissions and support the UK’s net zero target.

The new wind turbine testing facility will be built in Blyth, Northumberland and will be based at the Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult’s National Renewable Energy Centre. It will test, validate and certify turbines.

The money will fund a 150-metre blade test facility that will replicate conditions at sea and can be expanded to 180 metres. The existing 100-metre blade test facility is being repurposed to increase capacity while the 15MW drive train test facility will also be upgraded.

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Testing larger wind turbine blades and more powerful drive trains before they begin work offshore helps to speed up the time to market for larger, more efficient machines and so realise benefits faster.

It is anticipated that the new R&D infrastructure will help achieve the goal of 60% of offshore wind farm content coming from the UK as well as encourage investment in the offshore wind sector.

Announcing the wind turbine deal, Science, Research and Innovation Minister Andrew Griffith, said: “Our £86 million funding will create highly skilled and highly paid new jobs that grow the north-east and wider UK economies. It will also bring in investment by marking our country as a leader in technologies of the future as well as a global capital for wind power.”

“At the same time, this innovation will strengthen the UK’s energy security in an uncertain world and help us pivot towards the cleaner energy that can preserve our planet for generations to come.”

Construction is expected to begin this summer and the new facility will be fully commissioned by 2028.

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