Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Wind of Change off Blyth

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Wind of Change off Blyth

Article excerpt

Byline: Brian Daniel Reporter

A PLAN to develop a wind testing site off the coast of Blyth is a step closer after a major industry player bought the rights to the area.

EDF Energy Renewables (EDF ER) has acquired the rights to develop the Blyth Offshore Wind Demonstration Project, with potential for 15 turbines and the largest consented offshore wind testing facility in the UK.

The MP for Blyth has welcomed the deal, claiming the project has the potential to offer hundreds of jobs.

The site, around six miles from the port of Blyth, could accommodate up to 15 turbines of up to 195m tall, and and provides an area to trial new technology.

It was taken through the planning process by the National Renewable Energy Centre (NAREC), now the Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult (OREC). The site was put on the market by the Crown Estate, the organisation which manages the UK seabed, earlier this year in order to secure a developer capable of delivering an operational test and demonstration project on site by 2016/17.

At the same time, OREC launched a competitive process for associated project elements like the grid connection, onshore land rights and wind data.

EDF ER has announced it has acquired the rights to develop the project, having secured the seabed rights, and associated land rights and meteorological data from the OREC.

EDF ER and OREC have also entered into a collaboration agreement with the aim of developing research and development projects to tackle some of the technology challenges facing the sector.

EDF ER is expected to make a final investment decision on building the site next year.

The company's chief executive Christian Egal said: "We're delighted to be getting access to a UK site, which subject to a final investment decision by our investment committee, could give us the opportunity to further enhance our expertise in building off-offshore wind farms and to test new technologies. …

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