US-based engineering company GE Power Conversion and its consortium partner MTS Systems have commenced building an open-access wind turbine testing facility in UK.

The facility cost is estimated at £50m, of which the Energy Technologies Institute (ETI) will fund £25m.

The facility located at National Renewable Energy Centre (NAREC) comprises 15MW, 30 rpm permanent magnet motor with a capacity of 14.3 million newton meters (NM).

As a part of consortium, GE has supplied turnkey package comprising a heavy-duty, medium-voltage drive system and comprehensive automation and visualization equipment, while MTS has provided its Force Application System (FAS).

In addition, GE has designed a 35m high, 3,000m2 facility to host the test rig aimed at helping wind turbine developers for full-scale testing of large nacelles, besides pacing up the development of their systems.

GE Power Conversion test systems global business leader Franz Hubl noted that the NAREC facility is accessible by all wind energy developers.

"We are well on the way to completing the installation and will train technical personnel very shortly. GE also is responsible for supplying on-site and remote service and maintenance as well as developing new equipment for future projects," added Hubl.