In Britain the Crown Estate is to buy Clipper Windpower's 7.5 MW prototype, currently set to be the world's largest offshore wind turbine. The state authority, which owns most of the UK seabed, claims its investment in the "Britannia" project will give it first hand experience of the challenges facing wind turbines in deep water and "drive forward" turbine design. The Crown Estate is about to kick off the next round of site licensing for offshore wind development on the UK continental shelf within the Renewable Energy Zone, which extends out to some 200 nautical miles. "This is an important step in the future of offshore wind and a great opportunity to help establish a new industrial base of activity to advance the UK's leadership in renewable energy," says the Crown Estate's Rob Hastings. The Britannia machine will be assembled and tested at Clipper's facility for offshore wind in Blyth in north-east England. Additional money for the project is to come from One NorthEast, the regional development agency. One NorthEast's New and Renewable Energy Centre at Blyth is also providing Clipper with engineering and test facilities for blades, generators and drivetrains.
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