The Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult and Advance Northumberland are to develop a facility to test next-generation offshore wind turbines
The Energy Central Offshore Wind Demonstrator project is being proposed in addition to Energy Central’s £30M (US$40M) Energy Park, which is already under development.
Located on a brownfield site to the north of the former Blyth power station in the parish of East Bedlington, the facility will prove a key attraction for investors considering locating turbine manufacturing facilities in Northumberland, which could lead to job creation and an investment of millions of pounds in the local economy.
The site will be designed to host large prototype turbines. It is hoped that it will attract leading equipment manufacturers to test innovations at the component level.
The turbines that will be tested at the proposed facility would be up to 300 m in height.
The site will be locally managed by ORE Catapult’s National Renewable Energy Centre in Blyth, which has extensive experience operating and maintaining offshore wind turbines through its ownership of the 7-MW Levenmouth Demonstration Turbine in Fife, Scotland.
ORE Catapult test facilities director Tony Quinn said, “This is a development that would put southeast Northumberland well and truly on the map as an international leader in bringing to market next-generation offshore wind turbine technology.
“A prototype site builds on the unique cluster of offshore renewable energy expertise, innovation and skills already present within Energy Central, making us an even stronger proposition to attract overseas investment to the north east and further support the UK’s world-leading status in offshore wind.”
A planning application is being prepared for October/November 2020 and a programme of public consultation will start in August. If planning permission is granted for the project, then the first turbine would be installed for testing in 2022.
Riviera held a series of webinars on offshore wind in June. These are available to view in our webinar library