The Energy Technologies Institute (ETI) has announced that it will invest 25 million pounds in an open-access wind turbine drivetrain test rig. The indoor rig will be sited at Narec in Northumberland, England, and will be capable of testing complete drivetrains and nacelles up to 15 MW. The facility is expected to be available for commercial testing beginning in June 2013.
The ETI is providing funding to a consortium made up of Converteam and MTS Systems Corp. for the design, development and commissioning of the test rig.
The rig is expected to be capable of providing 15 MW of power, as well as creating the dynamic conditions that wind turbines would expect to experience when installed offshore.
The rig has been designed to allow the whole turbine nacelle to be tested in a purpose-built, onshore test facility before being exposed to the challenging offshore conditions. This will help reduce the technical and commercial risks of mass production and deployment, according to the ETI.
Preparatory construction and infrastructure works have commenced at Narec in Blyth, ahead of the start of building construction later this year.