GE Renewable Energy and ORE Catapult Sign Offshore Wind Pact

GE Renewable Energy and the UK’s Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult have signed a five-year research and development agreement to test and develop next-generation offshore wind technologies.

GE’s recently announced Haliade-X 12 MW offshore wind turbine and existing Haliade 150-6MW will undergo test and demonstration programs that replicate real-world operational conditions to enhance performance and reliability. Testing will take place at ORE Catapult’s 15MW power train test facility in Blyth, Northumberland.

Research and development activities will include cooling technologies, converters, loading conditions across mechanical and electrical components, grid testing and design validation.

The five-year R&D Agreement will seek to improve turbine platform availability and reliability through highly accelerated life testing, accelerate prototype certification through functional testing, and validate designs, upgrades and new technologies.

“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,” John Lavelle, president & CEO of GE’s Offshore Wind business, said.

”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.”

In addition to the R&D activities, the agreement also includes a GBP 6 million combined investment with Innovate UK and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) to install the world’s largest and most powerful grid emulation system at the Catapult’s National Renewable Energy Centre in Blyth.

Supplied by GE Power, Grid Emulation, in conjunction with the Catapult’s power train test facilities, will enable the partners, UK companies and researchers to better assess the interaction between the next generation of large-scale wind turbines and the electrical distribution network in the most challenging environments.

Image source: ORE Catapult

“This five-year collaborative programme with GE Renewable Energy is a testament to the Catapult’s world-class engineering, research and development capabilities across all aspects of wind turbine development and performance,” ORE Catapult Chief Executive Andrew Jamieson said.

“By working closely together in areas such as power trains, blades and electrical infrastructure, we look forward to helping GE to both enhance their existing portfolio and bring new products and services to the offshore wind market, while simultaneously generating significant economic growth opportunities in the UK.”