The Blyth Offshore site off the Northumberland coast around 14 sq km in size and received planning consent for a 99MW offshore wind demonstration project in November 2013 – making it the most promising test and demonstration site currently available in the UK.
The project will comprise a maximum of 15 pre-commercial prototype turbines to be constructed across three arrays, with a maximum number of 5 turbines in each array with turbines positioned in water depths from 35m to 58m and distances from the coast between 5.7km and 13.8km.
The facility at Blyth will provide a unique opportunity to develop facilities for the demonstration and testing of prototype and pre-commercial turbines.
It will enable manufacturers and wind farm developers to learn new approaches across the supply chain and study alternative foundation types and construction methods for the development, deployment and operation and maintenance of new turbine technologies. This will help the offshore wind industry to meet the technical, logistical and commercial challenges of development in the open sea.
Adrian Fox, Programme Manager for Supply Chain and Technology, the Crown Estate, said: “With consent already granted, this project represents a fantastic opportunity for industry to invest in developing new technologies which will ultimately contribute towards growth in the sector by unlocking new areas of resource and driving costs down.
“We are keen to see development at Blyth come forward at the earliest possible opportunity and offering the project to the market will mean developers with the necessary resources now have the chance to access the most advanced demonstration site in UK waters.
“The scheme has the potential to make a valuable contribution towards meeting cost reduction targets for 2020 if investment from a committed developer can be secured quickly. To achieve this, we are asking for expressions of interest from developers capable of delivering an operational project by 2016/17, with a view to running a tender process once the level of market interest has been established.”