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  • Clipper abandons Brittania

    Clipper Wind Power has abandoned plans for the development of a 10MW offshore wind turbine at NAREC in Blythe.
    The company's ambitious 'Britannia' project was considered an iconic vision for turbine developement in the UK, even securing Clipper the Crown Estate (TCE) as a joint venture partner.
    But the project floundered almost as soon as it was launched. Clipper failed to meet development milestones and broke the terms and conditions of its funding agreement with the Crown Estate.
    Traditionally a manufacturer of onshore wind turbines, Clipper has experienced mixed fortune over the past few years. Beset by operational and funding issues in its onshore turbine division, the company was hit badly by the global
    credit crises and was eventually acquired by United Technologies Corporation (UTC) last year.

    Clipper Wind Power has abandoned plans for the development of a 10MW offshore wind turbine at NAREC in Blythe.

     

    The company's ambitious 'Britannia' project was considered an iconic vision for turbine developement in the UK, even securing Clipper the Crown Estate (TCE) as a joint venture partner.

     

    But the project floundered almost as soon as it was launched. Clipper failed to meet development milestones and broke the terms and conditions of its funding agreement with the Crown Estate.

     

    Traditionally a manufacturer of onshore wind turbines, Clipper has experienced mixed fortune over the past few years. Beset by operational and funding issues in its onshore turbine division, the company was hit badly by the global credit crisis and was eventually acquired by United Technologies Corporation (UTC) last year.

     

    Clippers termination of the Brittania project almost certainly marks the end of its offshore wind ambitions, just as the global trend seems to be turning towards offshore.

     

    Whilst the company insists that there will still be commercial opportunities for Clipper to exploit in the future, the failure of the project has raised questions over the judgement of the Crown Estate and the Department of energy and Climate Change for getting involved in the project. TCE originally invested £1.6m in the project, with DECC committing millions in state aid towards the development of gearboxes and blades.

     

    Although the Crown Estate received a full refund and DECC paid only a fraction of what it had committed, the fact that the project failed to meet even its earliest milestones has raised serious questions over the due diligence undertaken by both parties.

     

    The Government and the Crown Estate have downplayed concerns over its investments, citing that Brittania stimulated the development of the UK supply chain in advance of the mega Round 3 projects.

     

    But at a time when many profitable small firms in the offshore wind supply chain are battling to secure financing for future growth, both the Crown Estate and the Government could do well to channel the money into UK companies, where real opportunities for job creation are there for the taking.

     

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