The facility will be Scotland’s first offshore wind turbine test site and will be an extension of SSE’s Glasgow-based Center of Engineering Excellence for Renewable Energy.

Up to three prototype turbines will be tested at the site for a period of five years.

SSE Renewables managing director Jim Smith said the company is delighted with the decision by North Ayrshire Council.

"This project will provide a test facility that will allow manufacturers to demonstrate the reliability of the next generation of longer capacity turbines ahead of deployment offshore" said Smith.

Enabling works are due to begin with the main construction period commencing later this year.

The project is expected to be complete by 2013.

SSE Renewables is the renewable energy division of Scottish and Southern Energy.