Wind Power Research Hub in the Pipeline

Article excerpt

ENERGY Ruth Lognonne ? 0191 201 6139 ? AMULTI million pound device for measuring wind speed is to be built as part of a pioneering pounds 300m research and development project for the offshore wind industry which could see 15 giant turbines built in the sea off Northumberland.

The Blyth Offshore Demonstration Project has been developed by the town's flagship National Renewable Energy Centre (Narec) with an pounds 18.5m grant from the Government and an additional pounds 4.35m from One North East, to bring the total available funding to pounds 22.85m.

Narec is using a large portion of the available funding to pay Brighton-based engineers SeaRoc to install its offshore anemometry hub. The research facility will be installed three nautical miles off the coast of Blyth next to the nearest array of the proposed 100MW capacity wind turbines.

The instrument has been fabricated at the former McNulty yard, on the south side of the River Tyne, and includes a high specification research platform fitted with the latest technologies for measuring wind resource and collecting marine conditions and marine life data.

It will begin measuring the wind resource for the proposed wind demonstration site in October and this data will supplement the analysis of the conditions which has been undertaken over the last two years.

Andrew Mill, chief executive of Narec, said: "This is fantastic timing for the project and the new facility will provide greater certainty of wind resource to enable Narec to leverage the additional investment that will make it a world-leading proving ground for next generation and cost reducing offshore wind technologies. …