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Wind turbine developers will soon have open access to a 50 million British pound testing facility at the National Renewable Energy Centre (NAREC) in the U.K. According to GE, the facility is being specifically designed for full-scale testing of large nacelles, and GE's Power Conversion will help enable the development of next-generation wind turbines.

GE says the installation it has designed and will commission comprises a 15 MW direct-drive, permanent-magnet motor, which will run at up to 30 rpm. The company is responsible for the turnkey package for the test facility from the grid supply to the motor shaft, including a heavy-duty, medium-voltage drive system and comprehensive automation and visualization equipment, as well as overlooking the overall installation with the wind load simulator.

The Energy Technologies Institute is investing 25 million British pounds in the NAREC facility, through the design, development and commissioning of the test rig by GE Power Conversion and Minneapolis-based MTS Systems Corp. It is a public-private partnership between global energy and engineering companies and the U.K. government to bring together engineering projects that accelerate the development of technologies, GE says.

"NAREC customers, regardless of where they are from, will soon benefit from this facility and the improvements that it will deliver in sustainable wind energy,” says Franz Hubl, global business leader of test systems of GE Power Conversion. “We are well on the way to completing the installation and will train technical personnel very shortly.”

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