Hunterston is operated by SSE and is currently testing a 6MW Siemens turbine and a 7MW Mitsubishi turbine. The site welcomed its first visitors from Ayrshire College on 6 and 7 June to find out more about the innovative project and the evolution of offshore wind.
Students from the College’s pioneering Wind Turbine Technician course, developed to provide the next generation of employees to support the growing wind industry in Ayrshire and beyond, had the opportunity to meet with members of the Hunterston team as well as the chance to get inside the Siemens turbine.
Due to its unique location, Hunterston allows offshore turbines to be tested onshore, providing a safer environment to learn. One of the many benefits of testing these machines onshore ahead of deployment offshore was highlighted recently, following the identification of a minor blade defect on the Siemens turbine at the site. A section of the blade has been removed for detailed analysis, maximising the opportunity to learn from the issue in a test environment and SSE is currently exploring blade repair techniques.
Offering many of the students their first opportunity to get close to these offshore turbines and to hear first hand how the site has helped advance the UK’s offshore wind industry proved to be a great success.
Gavin Murray, Director of STEM at Ayrshire College, said, “Gaining access to the site at Hunterston provides our students with a tremendous insight into the development work being carried out by SSE. Having the opportunity to work closely with industry experts from SSE is invaluable to our students and will definitely benefit them as they start their careers within the Renewables industry.”
One of the industry experts providing the electrical presentation on the day is Callum Kerr, a former Largs Academy student and now Electrical Engineer at SSE, who is thrilled to be able to share his knowledge with the college students, “Hunterston is a truly unique site and it’s fantastic that it’s now opening its doors up to Ayrshire College. I was really pleased to be asked to take part in the visit and hope that this will be the start of a great relationship with the college.”
Sean Kelly, Project Manager at SSE, said, “Hunterston was developed to help us learn about, and develop, offshore wind technology so it’s great that we have the opportunity to share this learning with Ayrshire College. We hope this is the start of building a strong relationship with the college and that we can continue to share knowledge and the important lessons learned over the coming years.”
To date the Hunterston project has injected £32.4 m into the Scottish economy with £4.1m of this in North Ayrshire. The Hunterston site has not only brought benefits to the offshore wind industry and economic benefit to the region, the communities closest to the wind farm have also benefited from the Hunterston Community Fund which is providing £250,000 over the current five years of the project.