The Crown Estate and Clipper Windpower Plc (Clipper) have announced today, that they have signed an agreement for The Crown Estate to purchase Clipper’s prototype of the world’s largest offshore wind turbine, Clipper’s 7.5 MW MBE turbine, also known as the Britannia project.
This investment will allow The Crown Estate to gain firsthand knowledge of the challenges facing the development of wind turbines specialised for deep water marine deployment, as the process of engaging industry to develop the next phase of offshore windfarms begins.
If the industry is to reach the current delivery target of a total capacity of up to 33 GW by 2020, this kind of support and research will be invaluable.
In addition to a unique and diverse property portfolio, encompassing urban and rural estates, the marine interests of The Crown Estate include almost the entire UK territorial seabed out to 12 nautical miles and around 55 per cent of the UK’s coastal foreshore.
In addition, The Crown Estate has the rights to lease seabed for the generation of renewable energy on the continental shelf within the Renewable Energy Zone, which extends out to approximately 200 nautical miles.
Speaking in London, Rob Hastings, director of the Marine Estates at The Crown Estate, said: “It is widely recognised that offshore wind energy will provide the majority of the required contribution needed to ensure that the UK meets its demanding renewable energy target to supply 15 per cent of our consumed energy from renewable sources by 2020.
“We believe that our support for the Britannia project, through the acquisition of this purposely designed new generation offshore turbine project, will drive forward the development of turbine technology designed for the challenges of the offshore environment.
“This is an important step in the future of offshore wind and a great opportunity to help establish a new industrial base of activity to advance the UK’s leadership in renewable energy.”
Wind turbines, such as the Clipper 7.5 MW MBE offshore turbine, will advance industry technology in line with the forecasted upsurge in European offshore wind development in 2011–2012.
The MBE prototype turbine will be assembled and tested at Clipper’s Centre of Excellence for Offshore Wind in Blyth in the north east of England, strategically located to serve the offshore turbine development zones and their related load centres.
“We are very pleased to be working with The Crown Estate to realise this exciting project,” said James Dehlsen, chairman and CEO of Clipper Windpower.
“Clipper’s current Liberty 2.5 MW turbine is the fourth successful generation of turbine technology our team has created, and it provides a technology platform which scales advantageously to meet the turbine size needed to help make offshore wind economically viable.
“This platform enables us to accelerate the development of this vital turbine technology at a time when the urgencies of energy security and global warming are driving the transformation of energy priorities and resource use.”
The Britannia project has recently received the support of One NorthEast, the Regional Development Agency for the north east of England.
Clipper Windpower is working closely with One NorthEast’s Blyth-based New and Renewable Energy Centre (NaREC), which will provide the project with engineering and test facilities for blades, generators and drivetrains.
Funding provided by One NorthEast also will support the development of Clipper’s turbine supply chain and related manufacturing facilities.
17 April 2008
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