New £20m Scottish wind farm test centre to be operational next year

The new wind farm will be based at Hunterston
The new wind farm will be based at Hunterston
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PLANS for a £20 million test centre for offshore wind tirbunes in Scotland have been revealed.

• New plant will replicate off-shore conditions on land

• Test centre will be the first of its kind in the UK

The centre, at the port of Hunterston on the North Ayrshire coast, should be fully operational next year.

The project is being funded by SSE and Scottish Enterprise.

It will have three berths for testing full size turbines and SSE - who are investing around £15 million in the project - will work with its partners Siemens and Mitsubishi Power Systems Europe to develop their latest turbine technology on two of those.

Scottish Enterprise, which has committed up to £4.3 million from the National Renewables Infrastructure Fund, will lease the third space to a turbine manufacturer which has firm plans to invest in Scotland.

The centre will replicate off-shore conditions, but by keeping the turbines on land manufacturers have 24 hour access to make any repairs and modifications during the testing process.

First Minister Alex Salmond said: “As the global wind industry looks further offshore, towards the deeper waters of the world’s seas and oceans, Scotland is ideally-placed to become a key hub for the design, development and deployment of next-generation turbine technologies.

“We must continue to provide the optimum technical, investment and natural environment for this important industry so I’m delighted that, through Scottish Enterprise, we are able to work with one of Scotland’s great innovating companies on this key offshore wind project.”

SSE finance director, Gregor Alexander, said: “We are pleased to be working with Scottish Enterprise to develop the UK’s first offshore wind turbine testing facility of its kind.

“This ground-breaking venture will be an important stepping stone towards fulfilling renewables targets in an affordable way in our move towards a low carbon economy.”