The test rig is planned to be built at the New and Renewable Energy Centre (Narec) site in Blythe, Northumberland alongside Narec’s offshore wind turbine blade and marine energy systems testing facilities. The wind turbine drive train and nacelle test facility is expected to be operational by the end of 2011.
ETI says the plan is to be able to test whole wind turbine nacellesonshore and indoors before being taken offshore to reduce cost and risks for the offshore wind turbine industry.
Converteam and HORBA Instruments have been asked to provide competing designs for the indoor test-rig for complete wind turbine drive trains and nacelles with input power up to 15 MW. The competing designs will be presented at the end of May 2010.
Lord Drayson, Minister for Science and Innovation at the Department for Business Innovation and Skills, says: “Testing is key for manufacturers… The drive train facility proposed by the ETI will complement projects already underway. In December Government already announced £11.5 million towards a blade-test facility at the New and Renewable Energy Centre, which will provide a capability to test blades up to 100 m in length.”
ETI Chief Executive Dr David Clarke, adds: “When complete, this world-leading facility will allow turbine manufacturers and engineering teams to test the reliability of their equipment under realistic load conditions without the expense and risk of deploying them offshore.
“It will also offer opportunities to components suppliers and research teams who will be able to test new technologies and designs more comprehensively and to offshore developers who will be able to validate the performance of equipment before putting it into service.”