The Marine Management Organisation (MMO) has granted permission to The National Renewable Energy Centre (Narec) to construct the grid-connected 99.9 MW demonstration project, comprising 15 turbines in three arrays in depths of 35 m, 45 m and 55 m off the coast of Blyth in Northumberland including cables back to shore.
Northumberland County Council has also granted permission for the construction of the supporting onshore infrastructure including the electrical substation that will transfer the power created by the demonstration turbines to the grid.
The project is the first large-scale deep water demonstration site in the UK to be granted both offshore permits and onshore consent, and is seen as an essential facility for industry to be able to test next-generation offshore wind technology cost-effectively in realistic environmental conditions before commercial production.
The test facilities are intended to help manufacturers reduce the risks and costs associated with developing the new technologies that will be needed in Round 3 projects.
“We’re delighted to have reached such an important milestone and my thanks go to the project team including consultants Natural Power and Turner & Townsend in getting us to this stage,” said Andrew Mill, Narec’s chief executive. “We’re now in talks with potential investment partners to build out the demonstration site. Construction of the first array is targeted to be completed in 2015.”