Scottish Enterprise (SSE), a public body of the Scottish Government dedicated to economic development and innovation, is investing up to £4.3 ($7 USD) million to build an offshore test centre at the port of Hunterston.
The centre will be built with three large berths capable of holding three full scale wind turbines. Two of the berths will be used by SSE partners Siemens and Mitsubishi Power Systems Europe to test new turbine technology while the third will be leased to a turbine manufacturer willing to invest in the Scottish offshore wind development.
The new funding was announced by First Minister Alex Salmond at the Scottish Low Carbon Investment Conference today. “As the global wind industry looks further offshore, towards the deeper waters of the world’s seas and oceans, Scotland is ideally-placed to become a key hub for the design, development and deployment of next-generation turbine technologies.” said Salmond.
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 Scotland’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.
Salmond concluded that ”Scotland must continue to provide the technical, investment and natural environment for this important industry.”