WIND

Clipping its wings?

ADAM BARBER

August 22, 2011

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No one ever said heading offshore would be easy. Clipper’s announcement on Friday that it was shelving plans for its giant 10MW turbine is a case in point.

It is also another bitter blow for the US manufacturer that has had more than its fair share of challenges, since it was taken over by UTC, one of the world’s largest industrial companies, in December last year.

However, with Clipper backing out, it puts the spotlight on the Crown Estate, who, having invested in the Clipper initiative back in 2008, will now be back on the hunt for purchasing prototype turbines.

Naturally, Clipper has been at pains to position the development in a positive light, with all parties keen to stress the way in which the initiative has helped the industry to start scaling up to the next generation of turbine technology.

However, with Clipper yet to announce any major turbine sales since the December acquisition and with the Siemens, Vestas and Gamesa already making substantial commitments to the UK offshore space, the development raises real questions about international wind policy and its impact on manufacturers remaining competitive in the future.

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