As part of the agreement, GE’s recently unveiled next-generation 12-MW offshore wind turbine and Haliade 150-6MW will be tested at ORE Catapult’s 15MW power train test facility in Blyth, Northumberland.

The testing program is aimed at accurately replicating real-world operational conditions to improve the turbines’ performance and reliability.

The research and development activities to be undertaken by the partnership will comprise cooling technologies, converters, loading conditions across mechanical and electrical components, grid testing and design validation.

GE’s Offshore Wind business president and CEO John Lavelle said that the agreement will allow the GE to prove Haliade-X in a faster way by testing it under controlled and extreme conditions.

“Traditional testing methods rely on local wind conditions and therefore have limited repeatability for testing. By using ORE Catapult’s facilities and expertise, we will be in a better position to adapt our technology in a shortened time, reduce unplanned maintenance, increase availability and power output, while introducing new features to meet customers’ demands.”

The agreement also envisages a £6m combined investment with Innovate UK and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) to install what is claimed to be the world’s largest and most powerful grid emulation system at the Catapult’s National Renewable Energy Centre in Blyth.

The grid emulation system will be supplied by GE Power.

UK Government Energy & Clean Growth Minister Claire Perry said: “Through our Industrial Strategy, we are making the UK a global leader in renewables, including offshore wind, with more support available than any other country in the world.

“With 22% of all investment in European wind projects coming to the UK, the offshore wind industry is exceptionally well placed to boost supplies of home grown clean energy whilst growing new jobs and opportunities.”

GE said that the collaboration will drive technology improvements which would help in developing the UK supply chain and improving access to demonstration opportunities for innovative small businesses.