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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
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