New test site for 100-metre wind turbine blades gets go-ahead


The 100m NAREC wind turbine blade test centre
The 100m NAREC wind turbine blade test centre

The 100m blade test facility at the National Renewable Energy Centre (NAREC) has been awarded accreditation by UKAS for structural testing of wind turbine blades.

This will complement NAREC’s existing accreditation for blades up to 50m in length as well its ASTA/Intertek and UKAS accredited electrical and materials laboratories.

The 100m facility – which opened in 2012 in Blyth, Northumberland, to accommodate larger blades for the next generation of offshore wind turbines required for round three sites and beyond – undertakes dynamic and static tests in accordance with IEC and ISO17025 standards.

Various tests are undertaken, such as, the determination of natural frequencies, modal analysis, post-fatigue and collapse assessments helping to ensure the desired level of reliability and prove manufacturing processes prior to installation and operation.

Peter Hope, Blade Test Facility Manager, commented, “This is excellent news for Narec, and combined with our track record, independence and quality systems provides our clients with robust assurance that our certification work is carried out to the required standard.”

Aligned with the need for the offshore wind industry to reduce the cost of energy to £100 per mega-watt hour, Narec’s full scale open-access and independent blade, electrical and nacelle development and testing facilities, and consented 99.9MW offshore wind demonstration site will encourage collaborative R&D, increase market competition and support SMEs to help grow the sector further.

Hope added: “We work extensively with the offshore wind energy supply chain to deliver lower cost and more reliable offshore renewable energy technologies.  

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