Investment of £333 million is being sought in order to build the demonstation project, which will test next-generation offshore turbines and investigate ways of reducing the cost of offshore wind energy.
The plan involves making 15 turbine sites available, at water depths of between 38-57 metres. Chief executive of the National Renewable Energy Centre, Andrew Mill, said he believed the first turbines could be up by 2014 and will assist developers looking to assess the service records of turbines under consideration for Round 3 projects.
Each contract will include procurement, commissioning and installation for up to 35MW. Narec said the permitting process for the site is likely to be complete by the end of the year. It said the infrastructure was already in place.
"The turbines to be installed will be fleet leaders, a Formula 1 class of offshore machines, and the site will provide the catalyst for taking these next-generation technologies through to full production," said Mill. "By speeding up the accreditation process and building greater certainty in the investment markets, it will introduce more market competition in the UK and will significantly reduce project risk and bring forward deployment timescales."