The new factory, a 4000 m2 facility, is expected to be completed in the third quarter of 2010. The site is owned by the City of Newcastle and is being developed by Shepherd Offshore Services. Assuming expansion of the offshore wind power market is in line with the Government goals and Clipper wind turbines represent approximately one gigawatt per year of development, the factory is expected to employ a local workforce in excess of 500.
The factory will be used to develop and build blades for the ‘Britannia Project’, a 10 MW offshore wind turbine prototype under development by Clipper. The prototype is scheduled for deployment in late 2012, and is among the largest wind turbines under development in the wind energy industry. The blades will be 72 metres long and weigh over 30 tonnes.
A Department of Energy and Climate Change grant of £4.46 million was awarded to Clipper in September 2009. The grant is intended to accelerate development and demonstration of offshore wind technologies and components for multi-megawatt turbines.
Accordingly, the grant will contribute toward some of the costs associated with the development of the Britannia offshore wind turbine blade and factory. In April 2008, the Crown Estate announced its purchase of the first commercial prototype Britannia turbine. James G.P. Dehlsen, Chairman of Clipper, said:
“Today marks an exciting and important milestone in achieving the Britannia Project blade requirements. Over the next few years, with the development of the Britannia turbine the UK will benefit through the supply of electricity based on its abundant offshore wind energy resource, and also with economic activity related to turbine manufacturing, offshore installation, and long term operations and servicing. The offshore wind market in the UK is rapidly becoming one of the most exciting sectors in the global renewable energy industry.”
Offshore wind energy projects under development total nearly half the current global offshore installed capacity (according to the BWEA).
Clipper Windpower Plc is a company engaged in wind energy technology, wind turbine manufacturing, and wind farm project development. The Company designs advanced wind turbines, manufactures its 2.5 MW Liberty wind turbine, and actively develops wind power generating projects in the Americas and Europe.
Clipper’s headquarters are in the United Kingdom and in California, USA. The Company’s 330,000 square foot manufacturing and assembly facility for land-based wind turbines is located in Cedar Rapids, Iowa; its development centre for offshore wind turbine development is located in Blyth, UK. Clipper is a public company listed on AIM of the London Stock Exchange. Clipper’s ticker symbol is CWP.