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Narec to test Samsung 7MW nacelle

Samsung Heavy Industries' (SHI's) next-generation 7MW offshore wind turbine is to take a major step toward commercialisation with performance trials of its drive-train at the new high-capacity test bench at the UK's National Renewable Energy Centre (Narec).

The SHI nacelle, being shipped for installation at the 15MW facility in Blyth, near Newcastle in northeast England this summer, will undergo a six-month programme of testing where it will be put through it paces under simulated offshore operating conditions, including extreme weather events.  

"The project is a message of intent from SHI and outlines the route to market which other turbine manufacturers will progressively have to follow if they are to be considered to supply UK Round 3 sites," says Narec chief executive Andrew Mill.

“This is fantastic recognition for the team involved in getting the first independent test facility of this scale ready for the new breed of multi-megawatt offshore wind turbines."

UK business and energy minister Michael Fallon adds: “SHI's decision to undertake the testing of its new multi-megawatt offshore wind turbine at Narec’s pioneering test facility proves the benefits the facility can offer industry and demonstrates the opportunity for growth and jobs in the offshore sector.”

Narec's £48m ($75m) nacelle testing facility, developed with funding including £25m from government-industry body the Energy Technologies Institute, is built around a rig supplied by GE Power Conversion and MTS Systems.

The Korean group was last month given the green light by the Scottish government to erect a first 7MW machine, which is designed to have a 178-metre-diameter rotor, at Fife Energy Park in Methil, backed by over £6m of funding from development body Scottish Enterprise.

SHI plans to build an 84MW wind farm off the coast of Korea’s Jeju island using the new turbines. The project, to be installed by the end of 2014, will be one of South Korea’s first commercial offshore wind farms.

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