Page last updated at 10:12 GMT, Wednesday, 17 February 2010

30m turbine test facility to be built at Blyth

Offshore wind farm
The facility will make it safer and cheaper to test offshore turbines

Plans to build a world-class "test rig" for wind turbines in Northumberland have been announced.

The £30m facility, which will allow offshore turbines to be tested onshore, will be based at Blyth's New and Renewable Energy Centre (Narec).

Two companies are producing designs and the winning bidder is expected to be announced in May.

Regional development agency One North East is investing £10m in the facility, which is due to open in late 2011.

Testing turbines onshore will be cheaper, faster and safer, according to the Energy Technologies Institute (ETI) - a partnership between the UK government and private industry.

The test rig will also speed up the development of more efficient turbines.

ETI Chief Executive Dr David Clarke said: "When complete, this world-leading facility will allow turbine manufacturers and engineering teams to test the reliability of their equipment under realistic load conditions without the expense and risk of deploying them offshore.

"It will also offer opportunities to component suppliers and research teams who will be able to test new technologies and designs more comprehensively and to offshore developers who will be able to validate the performance of equipment before putting it into service."

Narec is a UK centre for the development of renewable energy technologies, including wind power, biomass and solar.

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