Thursday, October 11, 2007

Clipper plans the world's largest offshore wind turbine

Clipper Windpower Plc announced that it has established a Centre of Excellence for Offshore Wind in Blyth, United Kingdom, to develop the world's largest offshore wind turbine at 7.5 MW. The "Britannia Project" has attracted support from the UK's One NorthEast Regional Development Agency.

The development of the 7.5 MW wind turbine will build upon the advanced architecture and technology of Clipper's Liberty 2.5 MW turbine which, in September 2007, was recognized for its unparalleled levels of efficiency, reliability and reduced cost of energy by way of a commendation awarded to Clipper by the United States Department of Energy.

The Britannia Project addresses the growing demand for highly reliable and efficient offshore wind energy. Clipper will enlist the services and test facilities of the Blyth-based New and Renewable Energy Centre (NaREC) in this project.

"We are extremely pleased to have the U.K.'s One NorthEast working with us in the Britannia Project," said James G.P. Dehlsen, Chairman and CEO of Clipper. "We established the Project based on the offshore wind application of our technology and in concert with the U.K. government's policy leadership targeted to provide upwards of 20% of the nation's electricity from renewable sources which will rely in great part on offshore wind development. This forward-thinking policy should provide strong and affirmative action on both climate change and the enhancement of domestic energy security."

U.K. Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (BERR), the Rt. Hon. John Hutton MP, noted that the UK's commitment to wind power is steadfast.

"Clipper Windpower's decision to develop a new generation of offshore wind turbines in the North East of England is further evidence that the U.K. is fast becoming a magnet for renewable energy investment," Mr. Hutton said. "A recent report from Ernst & Young showed that the UK has moved up from fifth to second in the world for attractiveness in new renewable investment. Behind this is the Government's determination to bring down planning barriers and target support at marine and emerging renewables. By 2015 we expect to see a threefold increase in green energy feeding into the grid."

Ian Williams, One NorthEast Director of Business and Industry, said, "The Britannia Project, based on Clipper's advanced technology platform, furthers One NorthEast's goal to develop leading expertise in renewable energy which we have targeted as a key growth market. In this regard, the Britannia Project is an ideal technology model."

In developing this project there has been close collaboration between Clipper, One NorthEast and UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) - the UK Government's business development organization, which brings together the work of the BERR, and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

One NorthEast's Blyth-based New and Renewable Energy Centre (NaREC) will provide the Britannia Project with a support package for engineering and test laboratory, including its world-class wind turbine blade testing facilities. Engineering for the project will be shared between Clipper's Advanced Technology Group, based in Carpinteria, California, and Clipper operations in Blyth. Funding provided by One NorthEast also will support the development of Clipper's turbine supply chain and related manufacturing facilities.

Dehlsen indicated: "The potential for collaboration with the local companies with skills and capacity for turbine component production will be a significant advantage as turbine manufacturing gets underway." Dehlsen added: "We have seen excellent regional university resources specialized in offshore energy, particularly through the Marine Design Centre's expertise in marine technology and science."

Ian Williams added: "As we work with Clipper to develop the 7.5 MW turbine, we will build upon the advanced architecture and technologies of Clipper's 2.5 MW turbine which Clipper developed and tested in partnership with the U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL).

"NREL also assisted NaREC in the planning of the blade test facility in Blyth, partnering through a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement. Working with Clipper, we believe we can couple our marine technology experience to advance offshore wind power for both the European and US wind energy industries."

"Clipper viewed the North East as its global location of choice for this project which we hope will lead to future manufacturing and job creation in the region. Our region has the engineering, research and development and manufacturing expertise to make this happen."

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