NEWCASTLE law firm Watson Burton recently advised Narec (National Renewable Energy Centre) in successfully obtaining £25m worth of investment into a world-leading offshore test facility, which aims to further expand the UK's offshore wind industry.
The Energy Technologies Institute (ETI) has announced that it is to invest £25m to develop a state- of-the-art, open access wind turbine drive train test rig, which will be sited at Narec in Blyth, Northumberland. The turbine test rig will be capable of testing complete drive trains and nacelles up to 15MW and should be available for commercial testing from June 2013.
The facility, which is seen as crucial to the continued success and further expansion of the UK’s offshore industry, will be larger and more complex than anything currently available and will help manufacturers increase the reliability of their new turbines, with the benefit to consumers of reduced energy costs.
The ETI has confirmed the investment by providing funding to a consortium of Converteam and MTS Systems Corporation for the design, development and commissioning of the large scale engineering project.
Regional development agency One North East has invested a further £10m into the building that will house the test rig.
Watson Burton’s legal team, led by corporate partner Gillian Hall, advised Narec on its collaboration, operation and maintenance agreement with the ETI.
This agreement was a central element in a web of agreements designed to facilitate the design, construction, commissioning, operation and maintenance of the test rig for wind turbine systems.
The firm presented a cross-discipline projects team which included partners Gillian Hall, Roddy Gordon and Robin Adams as well as associate James Harrison.
Gillian Hall, corporate partner at Watson Burton, said: “This news is a significant coup for the UK’s offshore wind industry and we are delighted to have been able to play our part in assisting Narec in obtaining this investment.
“As a leading centre for renewable energy, the work undertaken by Narec has huge potential to attract investment and jobs to the UK. This investment will not only boost the national economy, but will make great strides in further cementing the UK’s position within the sector on an international scale.”
Richard Marr, finance director of Narec, said: “We are extremely pleased that the ETI has chosen to invest in the drive train test facility. This terrific news is a culmination of nearly three years of work on the project where we have identified industry requirements for such a facility and have gathered the necessary support to make it a reality for the UK.
“Watson Burton’s legal team was a great asset to us in securing the investment. They demonstrated a clear understanding of the sectors in which we operate and delivered a concise and efficient service.”