The newly completed facility will test drive trains up to 3MW and is likely to be of greatest use to manufacturers of tidal energy turbines. Two further facilities will target the offshore wind industry, specifically blades and 10-12MW turbines.
Together, the three test facilities will form the UK’s £80 million National Renewable Energy Centre (Narec), which is being built to provide "accelerated lifetime testing" of offshore renewable technology in order to improve reliability and to avoid the premature offshore deployment of untested technology.
The two other test facilities planned for Narec will focus on offshore wind technology. A 100 metre blade testing facility is due to be commissioned late this summer or early autumn. Windpower Offshore understands that discussions with a potential first customer are at an advanced stage, but no contract has yet been signed.
Meanwhile, a 15MW facility designed to put 10-12MW offshore wind turbines to the test is scheduled to come online toward the end of summer 2013.