Inching its way along the river, one of the world’s largest wind turbine parts arrives in the North East to mark the latest phase of developments at an industry centre.
Arriving at Blyth docks in Northumberland, the 450-tonne turbine gearbox, the size of two family homes, owned by Samsung Heavy Industries is the biggest of its kind in the UK.
Its arrival at the docks and the National Renewable Energy Centre (Narec) heralds the next stage in the evolution of UK offshore wind industry and could signal a jobs boost to the region.
Due to be off-loaded onto the quayside today , the colossal piece of equipment will then be subjected to rigorous on-shore testing at Narec.
The Blyth test centre is the world’s largest open access, independent facility of its kind and will test the component, known as a nacelle, up to 15MW capacity.
Narec chief executive Andrew Mill said: “We’re delighted to be working with Samsung Heavy Industries (SHI) on the accelerated lifetime testing of their next-generation turbines.
“The information we gather during testing will contribute significantly to SHI’s understanding of the design and performance of their technology that will ultimately help reduce the manufacturing and operating costs of the turbines and make energy production through offshore wind power far more competitive with other energy sources.”
Universities and science minister David Willetts said: “It’s good to see that Samsung’s nacelle uses a gearbox that has been designed and built in the UK. Our Offshore Wind Industrial Strategy sets out how we aim to grow the supply chain so that more of the work and jobs can be done here. The Government is helping UK supply chain companies to become more competitive through a Manufacturing Advisory Service programme called GROW, funded by ï¿½20m from the Regional Growth Fund.”
Dr David Clarke, CEO of the Energy Technologies Institute said: “The delivery by Samsung Heavy Industries of its turbine is a major milestone for Narec and the wider UK Offshore Wind industry. This is evidence that the UK can create world leading engineering facilities that can attract global industry operators providing welcome economic stimulus into the country and advancing technology innovation in a growing industry.”
The giant Nacelle will sit on top of the wind turbine tower behind the blades and contains the mechanism which converts wind power into electricity.
Narec’s ï¿½48m wind drive testing rig was completed earlier this year. Housed in a 35-metre high, 3,000 sq m hall it will be used for the performance, endurance and compressed life testing of complete nacelles up to 15MW.
This is evidence that the UK can create world-leading engineering facilities