The world’s largest wind turbine is to be trialled in the UK after GE Renewable Energy signed a five-year research and development deal with the Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult.

The agreement will see the company trial its proposed new 12MW Haliade-X turbine at ORE’s 15MW power train test centre in Blyth, as well as its existing 6MW Haliade 150 model.

GE unveiled plans at the beginning of March to invest more than $400 million over the next three to five years in the development of the Haliade-X.

The colossal turbine will have 107-metre-long rotor blades and stand 260 metres tall, taking the crown for the world’s largest from MHI Vesta’s V164 model, which has 80-metre-long blades and a tip height of 191 metres.

Vattenfall recently installed an 8.8MW version of the V164 – currently the world’s most powerful – at its European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre (EOWDC) in Aberdeen Bay.

An upgraded 9.5MW version, which MHI Vestas trialled at the Osterild test centre in Denmark, has been selected for use at the Triton Knoll and Moray East offshore wind projects. Both projects won Contracts for Difference in the latest auction in September at respective strike prices £74.75/MWh and £57.50/MWh.

Welcoming news of the agreement between GE and ORE, energy and clean growth minister Claire Perry, said: “This collaboration is great news and highlights our world-class research and testing facilities. Through our industrial strategy, we are making the UK a global leader in renewables, including offshore wind, with more support available than any other country in the world.”

John Lavelle, president and chief executive of GE’s Offshore Wind business, said: “This is an important agreement because it will enable us to prove Haliade-X in a faster way by putting it under controlled and extreme conditions.

“Traditional testing methods rely on local wind conditions and therefore have limited repeatability for testing. By using ORE Catapult’s facilities and expertise, we will be in a better position to adapt our technology in a shortened time, reduce unplanned maintenance, increase availability and power output, while introducing new features to meet customers’ demands.”

The agreement also covers a £6 million combined investment with Innovate UK and the European Regional Development Fund to install the world’s largest and most powerful grid emulation system at the ORE’s National Renewable Energy Centre in Blyth.

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