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No question, "there's something to be said," and the UK is the leader in installed offshore capacity.  It remains to be seen if the UK can build up the supply chain to implement the humongous Crown Estate plans, but no question it is very possible.

however, to the degree offshore is being used in the UK to ignore onshore development, it is a false step.  When onshore is being strongly developed, with significant annual capacity installations, then the pressure is off higher-risk offshore, and the industry can grow at a more healthy pace until it reaches maturity.

eggs, meet sole basket.

Hypothetically, it's possible the 126+ m rotor turbines need another generation or two to reach adequate performance levels.  Offshore slows down or even halts a year or three, then what?  (I'm not saying this is even likely, but there is no question the larger turbines are reaching unexplored territory.  Even the 90-100m rotor turbines have not reached full maturity yet.)

Case in point, the Crown Estate is invested in the Clipper 10MW turbine.  Clipper has an advanced design drive train, which took several years to reach operational status after first commercial installation.  While many prominent engineering analysts now claim that Clipper is back on track, i personally believe there's not yet a long enough data period to be confident they've solved the technical problems.  If that's the case with their 2.5 MW machine, what's to come with a 140m 10MW machine.

Clipper has assembled a top design team behind Amir Mikhail, and seems to have significant R&D funding secured.  if a proper prototype, testing and data analysis period is allowed BEFORE rollout, we could have a winner.  But the 2.5 was rolled out too soon, as are most turbines.  (GE 2.5 an exception.)  There's too much pressure to expand on offshore currently.

But J. is closer than I to industry sentiment, so i'll defer to his views here.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Ana´s Nin

by Crazy Horse on Wed Feb 3rd, 2010 at 12:06:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
however, to the degree offshore is being used in the UK to ignore onshore development, it is a false step.  When onshore is being strongly developed, with significant annual capacity installations, then the pressure is off higher-risk offshore, and the industry can grow at a more healthy pace until it reaches maturity.

Yes, but don't you get that windturbines are a horrible blight on the landscape.  At least for the twits who still wish that they could go fox hunting.

Point taken.  I imagine that you are right that the promise of what offshore might be able to do is being used to stop onshore from doing what we know it can.

Case in point, the Crown Estate is invested in the Clipper 10MW turbine.

140 meter rotors?  That's big. What's the hub height on something like that? I suppose that if you are invested in offshore, that you may as well pump up the size as much as possible.

And I'll give my consent to any government that does not deny a man a living wage-Billy Bragg

by ManfromMiddletown (manfrommiddletown at lycos dot com) on Wed Feb 3rd, 2010 at 12:25:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Hub height offshore is less critical than offshore, with lower alphas (increase of speed with height).  There is far less turbulence offshore as well, meaning lower hub heights suffice.  Onshore one needs to go higher to reach stronger winds, and eliminate as much terrain-induced turbulence as possible.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Ana´s Nin
by Crazy Horse on Wed Feb 3rd, 2010 at 12:53:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
True enough.  I was thinking that you had to be at at least 140 meters to accommodate the blades, but then I guess not. Each side is 70 meters, so I suppose that you could even put it on a 100 meter a be fine.

And I'll give my consent to any government that does not deny a man a living wage-Billy Bragg
by ManfromMiddletown (manfrommiddletown at lycos dot com) on Wed Feb 3rd, 2010 at 12:58:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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