By Kari Williamson
The facility could be Scotland’s first offshore wind turbine test site and will be an extension of SSE's Glasgow-based Centre of Engineering Excellence for Renewable Energy (CEERE).
Up to three prototype turbines will be tested at the site for a period of five years in partnership with wind turbine suppliers.
Managing Director of SSE Renewables, Jim Smith, says: “This project will represent an important project for the wider offshore wind industry, by providing a test facility it will allow manufacturers to demonstrate the reliability of the next generation of longer capacity turbines ahead of deployment offshore.”
Adrian Gillespie, Director of Energy and Low Carbon Technologies at Scottish Enterprise, adds: "This decision to develop an offshore wind turbine test facility at Hunterston is of national significance in helping to establish Scotland as a centre of expertise in offshore wind research, development and manufacturing. We are now in discussions with SSE in order to maximise economic benefits with regards to the funding model and will confirm more details in due course.
“Several global wind turbine manufacturers have expressed strong interest in utilising this high-quality test facility and this will further strengthen Scotland as an even more attractive destination for offshore manufacturing investment and expertise. The development will put Hunterston firmly on the global renewables map and it has the potential to generate a number of positive opportunities for the local and national economies."
The first phase of construction is to be completed summer 2013.