The Energy Central Offshore Wind Demonstrator project will be built to test the next generation of advanced offshore wind turbines


ORE Catapult, Advance Northumberland to develop turbine test facility. (Credit: Offshore Renewable Energy.)

UK-based Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult has collaborated with Advance Northumberland to develop a new offshore wind turbine test facility in England.

To be built on a brownfield site to the north of the former Blyth power station, in the parish of East Bedlington, the new facility will test the next generation of advanced offshore wind turbines.

Designed to host one large prototype turbine for testing at a time, the Energy Central Offshore Wind Demonstrator project will be locally managed by ORE Catapult’s National Renewable Energy Centre in Blyth.

The turbines with up to 300m of height will be tested at the new facility.

Once operational, each will have the potential to generate enough power to supply electricity to about 9,000 homes.

ORE Catapult said that the facility is being designed to attract inward investment into the county that are related to the offshore renewable energy sector.

ORE Catapult, Advance Northumberland are preparing a planning application

ORE Catapult Test Facilities director Tony Quinn said: “This is a development that would put South East Northumberland well and truly on the map as an international leader in bringing to market next-generation offshore wind turbine technology.

“A prototype site builds on the unique cluster of offshore renewable energy expertise, innovation and skills already present within Energy Central, making us an even stronger proposition to attract overseas investment to the North East and further support the UK’s world-leading status in offshore wind.”

The two entities are preparing a planning application for the new facility for submission in October/November this year and a programme of public consultation is scheduled to begin in August.

If planning permission is granted, the first turbine is expected to be installed for testing in 2022.

In May this year, ORE Catapult’s Marine Energy Engineering Centre of Excellence (MEECE) has collaborated with Wave energy developer Bombora to develop a co-located floating wave and wind technology.