The Hunterston Offshore Wind Turbine Test facility will be the UK’s first onshore test site for offshore wind turbines and will be an extension of SSE’s Glasgow based Centre of Engineering Excellence for Renewable Energy (CEERE). SSE is working closely with supply chain partners Siemens and Mitsubishi Power Systems Europe to construct and test their latest turbine technology on two of the berths at the site.
The third berth will be operated by Scottish Enterprise who has committed part funding from the National Renewables Infrastructure Fund towards the project. This berth will be leased to a turbine manufacturer which has firm plans to invest in the Scottish off-shore wind supply chain.
The development of the Hunterston test site has also been supported by invaluable funding from UK government departments - Department of Energy and Climate Change and Department of Business, Innovation and Skills. This funding forms part of the Efficient Offshore Wind Programme.
Hunterston’s wind resource, which replicates offshore conditions, coupled with its existing grid connection - make it an ideal site for the testing facility which has a key role in developing the UK’s offshore wind supply chain.
The advantage of testing turbines on land is that it permits the manufacturer 24 hour access to make modifications and repairs, which is critical particularly for early series prototype turbines.
The facility will have a key role in developing the UK’s offshore wind supply chain by allowing manufacturers to demonstrate the reliability of the next generation of larger capacity turbines ahead of deployment offshore.
The Hunterston site, on the North Ayrshire coast, has similar wind conditions to those found offshore, access to the Grid and an adjacent jetty for facilitating component deliveries making it an ideal location for turbine manufacturers to test their latest turbine equipment before deploying it offshore.