AECOM has delivered engineering design services to SSE Renewables for the UK’s first onshore test site for prototype offshore wind turbines located in Hunterston on the Ayrshire coast of Scotland. The facility will play a key role in developing the UK’s offshore wind supply chain by allowing manufacturers to demonstrate the reliability of larger capacity turbines ahead of deployment offshore.

AECOM worked closely with wind turbine manufacturers on the proposed berths at the Hunterston site. The first installed prototype 6MW turbine has a hub height, which indicates how high the turbine stands above the ground, of 100 metres. The turbine’s blade tip height, which is the measurement from ground level to the tip of the blade, is 177 metres. The second prototype 7MW turbine will have a hub height of 110 metres and a blade tip height of 194 metres when installed.

The Hunterston site’s onshore foundations are the largest to be designed and constructed in the UK and have to cater for extra-ordinary high loading criteria and stiffness requirements from the prototype offshore wind turbines. The design loads were four times larger than those of a typical onshore wind turbine and the foundations required single concrete pours of up to 900 cubic metres.