Britain will manufacture the world’s largest wind turbine blades, thanks to grants for offshore wind energy firms arranged by the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC)

Energy and Climate Secretary Ed Miliband has announced grants will go to Clipper Windpower, Artemis Intelligent Power and Siemens Wind Power UK.

Clipper will receive £4.4M to develop a prototype blade measuring over 70m in length and weighing over 30t – the largest in the world – for the Britannia project. The company will now start development work for the blades on a plant in the North East of England, which will employ 60 people by the end of next year.

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Meanwhile, Artemis will have £1M to transfer their existing technology from automotive to wind energy, and Siemens will get £1.1M to develop the next generation power convertors for their larger offshore turbine.

Consolidating our lead

Announcing the grants, Miliband said the UK is “consolidating its lead” in offshore wind energy, and that the sector could employ tens of thousands of workers by 2020.

“It will take an active government to get us there,” he said, “and the funds I’m announcing today are part of the £120M investment we are making this year and next in the wind industry to make that happen.”

The grants are awarded under the Low Carbon Energy Demonstration (LCED) capital grants scheme. The first company to receive one of the grants was Vestas Technology UK Ltd in July.

Despite the grant for its research and development centre, Vestas controversially closed its wind turbine factory on the Isle of Wight – the only such factory in the UK – soon afterwards due to “unfavourable market conditions” (NCE 12 August). The grants to be awarded under phase 1 of the LCED will total £10M.

Clipper Windpower chairman James G.P. Dehlsen welcomed the company’s grant. “DECC’s leadership in initiating and expediting the grant program is timely and will help to accelerate our planning for and delivery of the Britannia project,” he said. “We are appreciative of the support and look forward to the opportunity to continue to work closely with DECC.”

Ed Miliband said: “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.”

“DECC’s leadership in initiating and expediting the grant program is timely and will help to accelerate our planning for and delivery of the Britannia project.” – James G.P. Dehlsen, Clipper Windpower

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