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UK's Narec cuts ribbon on new wind and tidal test facilities

Two frontline testing facilities for offshore wind and tidal turbine technology have been officially opened at the National Renewable Energy Centre (Narec) in northeast England.

The new blade test site and the tidal turbine drive-train test bench were built with a combined investment of £33.6m ($54.1m) from the UK government and the European Regional Development Fund.

The wind test centre has been designed to accommodate blades of up to 100-metres.

The 3MW Nautilus tidal test bench recently completed trials of Atlantis Resources’ AR1000 turbine’s drive-train.

Narec chief executive Andrew Mill says of the two: “Together with our existing capabilities they provide the most comprehensive facilities anywhere in the world to enable the scale-up of renewable energy technologies offshore.”

A third facility is currently under construction at Narec for the testing of large offshore wind turbines. The 15MW drive-train test facility is on track to be up and running with a first project next summer.

Narec will also be home to the 100MW, £333m Blyth Offshore Wind Demonstration Site (BOWDS), which will have 15 pre-consented “pods” arranged in three arrays in water depths ranging from 38-57 metres.