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Responding to reader José Ibarra's letter (Windpower Monthly, October 1996). The large wind turbine project referred to - British utility PowerGen - is only in the planning stage, so it makes sense to look ahead and judge where the market will be in, say, two years. To confirm technical and commercial viability of large wind turbines one must look at their operational records.

David Milborrow, Technical Consultant, Windpower Monthly

From David Milborrow, Technical Consultant, Windpower Monthly

On this page last month, José Ibarra from utility Iberdrola criticised the European Union's support of research into large wind turbines, since those same turbines are being sold commercially. He referred to an offshore wind farm. However, this project by British utility PowerGen is only in the planning stage, so it makes sense for them to look ahead and judge where the market will be in, say, two years. The fact that a machine which has been supported by the EU has been selected indicates to me that the research is well targeted, not the reverse. It has hastened technical development and produced a commercial design.

If José Ibarra wants "to confirm the technical and commercial viability of large wind turbines" he needs, as has always been the case, to look at their operational records. This is a separate question; research and development hopefully produces economic designs, but cannot guarantee sound performance.

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