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Major Boost for UK Offshore Wind with New Testing Facilities

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Ambitious plans to advance offshore wind technology in the UK received a significant boost today, as UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) announced £85.6 million in funding for the Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult. This investment will expand and upgrade ORE Catapult’s testing facilities, supporting the development of next-generation wind turbines.

The new facilities will focus on testing blades up to 150 meters and drive trains up to 23 megawatts (MW), with future capabilities extending to 180 meters and 28 MW. This will enable turbine manufacturers to accelerate technology development with reduced risk and enhanced reliability.

These advancements are expected to cut 2.5 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions by speeding up turbine deployment by at least eight months. Additionally, the project will support UK supply chains, create 30 new jobs in Blyth, and foster five PhDs annually.

Andrew Griffith, Science, Innovation and Research Minister, highlighted the impact: “Our £86 million funding will create highly skilled jobs, grow the economy, and strengthen the UK’s energy security while advancing cleaner energy solutions.”

The investment underscores the UK’s commitment to leading offshore wind technology, enhancing the country’s energy independence, and driving economic growth through innovation.

Construction at ORE Catapult’s National Renewable Energy Centre in Blyth is set to begin soon, with full commissioning expected by 2028. This project aligns with UKRI’s strategic theme of “Building a green future,” aiming to achieve net zero emissions in the UK by 2050.

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