U.K.-based Shepherd Construction has completed a new offshore wind turbine blade testing facility in Blyth, Northumberland, U.K.
The project is the second of three structures to be completed at Blyth as part of a 80 million British pound investment by Narec in facilities for the accelerated testing of offshore renewable energy technologies, the company explains.
The new blade testing facility has been designed to test the longer blades being developed for larger offshore turbines. It will add significantly to Narec's existing capability for testing blades up to 50 meters in length, the company explains.
Shepherd Construction says it worked closely with Narec and the project team to find an engineered solution that would withstand the forces applied during testing and the vibrations that will be created. The test hub comprises a 15-meter-high concrete superstructure with two huge rings. The 8-meter top ring is designed to accommodate the testing of blades up to 100 meters, and the smaller bottom ring will accommodate blades of smaller root diameter.
The new facility will provide an independent and confidential environment to accelerate the development of new blade designs before they are taken offshore. Narec will now commission the new facility, which will be ready for commercial operation at the beginning of next year.
Turner & Townsend provided both the project management and cost management services, and were employed by the design team.