The world's largest wind energy research and development (R&D) centre is planned for the north-east coast of England. Based in Blyth, Northumberland, the New and Renewable Energy Centre (NaREC) already tests wind turbine manufacturers' next generation turbine blades. The organisation now hopes that its proposals for an expanded R&D campus will have manufacturers beating a path to its door to test and develop turbines bigger than 5 MW. The campus will include the world's largest blade testing facility, able to test blades up to 100 metres in length, and the world's largest drive train facility, capable of testing both components and complete nacelle systems up to 10 MW. It will allow manufacturers to develop and test offshore technology and includes plans for grid-connected onshore and offshore demonstration sites at full scale. NaREC says its plans are subject to securing public and private funding support. The company's Stephen Wilson says: "Our proposals are designed to prepare the industry for major growth in very large capacity turbines, giving manufacturers the expertise and resource to develop and test new systems, and the supply chain the opportunity to adapt to bigger, more challenging technology." NaREC says it welcomes input from industry and commercial organisations on a confidential basis, but expects responses this month.
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