Cohocton Wind Watch: Britain to Build Giant Wind Turbine Blades
Cohocton Wind Watch is a community citizen organization dedicated to preserve the public safety, property values, economic viability, environmental integrity and quality of life in Cohocton, NY and in surrounding townships. Neighbors committed to public service in order to achieve a reasonable vision for a Finger Lakes region worthy of future generations.


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Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Britain to Build Giant Wind Turbine Blades

The British government announced plans last week to build what it said would be the world’s largest wind turbine blades with Clipper Windpower. The California-based company has been given a $7.15 million grant from the British government to construct the blades in northeast England.

“The U.K. is consolidating its lead in offshore wind energy,” said Ed Miliband, Britain’s energy and climate secretary, in a published statement. “We already have more offshore wind energy than any other country, we have the biggest wind farm in the world about to start construction, and now we’ll see the biggest turbine blades in the world made here in Britain,” he said.

The 230-foot blades — still under development — are expected to weigh more than 30 metric tons and will be designed for Clipper’s 10 megawatt, 574-foot offshore wind towers. Energy generated from the turbines could displace the use of two million barrels of oil per year, the government suggested, offsetting the need to dispel 724,000 tons of CO2 into the atmosphere.

“It’s great news for Britain that the world’s biggest wind turbines will be made here,” said Nick Rau of the environmental group Friends of the Earth. “This is exactly the sort of development that the government should be supporting”

The news comes at a time when the prospects for wind power and other renewable energy projects have begun to falter in Britain. Earlier this year, the turbine manufacturer Vestas closed two operations in Britain, citing a lack of demand in northern Europe. A subsequent study by the British Wind Energy Association found that most regions in England were unlikely to meet the government’s 2010 renewable energy targets.


Mr. Miliband’s department has been frustrated by local councils rejecting applications for wind turbines. Britain has strict planning regulations for offshore and onshore wind turbines, and many proposals have had difficulty obtaining permission.

Potential sites have been blocked by a combination of nimbyism, controversy over health issues, and councils valuing the traditional appearance of towns and cities over clean energy projects.

The $7.16 million grant to Clipper was awarded under the government’s Low Carbon Energy Demonstration project.

Two other companies have also been awarded grants. Artemis Intelligent Power has been given $1.6 million to transfer its existing “digital displacement” technology from automotive applications to wind turbines. And Siemens Wind Power UK – the world leader in offshore wind turbine manufacturing — has been awarded $1.8 million to develop power converters for offshore wind farms.

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