£86m investment announced for UK wind turbine research facilities

Designs for the upgraded wind turbine R&D facilities in Blyth
ORE Catapult
Designs for the upgraded wind turbine R&D facilities in Blyth

Plans to keep the UK at the forefront of technology development in offshore wind have been given the green light, with the announcement that UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) will provide £85.6m of capital funding for the Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult to expand and upgrade its testing facilities and enable the evolution of the next generation of wind turbines.

The new research and development facilities at ORE Catapult’s National Renewable Energy Centre in Blyth, Northumberland have been designed for the testing of blades up to 150m and drive trains up to 23MW. This combined with ORE Catapult’s extensive expertise in test and demonstration, will ensure that turbine manufacturers can accelerate their technology development in the UK with reduced risk and enhanced reliability for a new wave of larger, more efficient machines. Both blade and drive train capabilities will have the capacity for further expansion, to 180m and 28MW respectively, to meet future industry demand.

The new facilities will enable faster product development through test, validation and certification and are expected to prevent 2.5 million tonnes of CO2 emissions by accelerating deployment by a minimum of eight-months.

They will also support the growth of UK supply chains and provide critical research infrastructure to support inward investment into the UK wind industry and create 30 new jobs in Blyth.

Science, Innovation and Research Minister, Andrew Griffith, said: “Our £86m funding will create highly skilled and highly paid new jobs that grow the north-east and wider UK economies while pulling investment in by marking our country as a leader on technologies of the future and unashamedly open for business.

“At the same time, it strengthens the UK’s energy security in an uncertain world and helps us pivot towards the cleaner energy that can preserve our planet for generations to come.”

Andrew Jamieson, ORE Catapult Chief Executive, said: “This investment in truly world-leading capability will keep the UK at the forefront of offshore wind technology development. It will enable ORE Catapult to continue to deliver the most advanced research and development infrastructure and expertise to the offshore wind industry, capturing the jobs and economic growth from the transition to a Net Zero economy.”

Construction is due to start in the near future alongside the existing 100m blade test hall, and the major upgrade to its 15MW drive train test facility, with both expected to be fully commissioned by 2028.

ORE Catapult

https://ore.catapult.org.uk

 

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ORE Catapult

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