Lower than expected turbine availability and poor winds led to output from the UK's first two offshore wind farms being less than budgeted, according to annual reports for the first year of operation. At npower's 60 MW North Hoyle wind farm off the north Wales coast, the 188,135 MWh produced was only slightly down on predicted figures, achieving 96.5% of expected output for fiscal year 2004/05. At E.ON's 60 MW Scroby Sands wind farm off Norfolk, gearbox problems reduced the availability of the turbines to 84% in the last three months of 2005, giving a power output for the year of 152,574 MWh, just less than 90% of the budgeted figure. Failure of gearbox bearings, all directly related to the bearing design, were the main cause of the problem, says E.ON. It reports that 27 intermediate speed shaft bearings and 12 high speed shaft bearings were replaced, as well as four generators. Jason Scagell from E.ON UK Renewables says lessons have been learned. "We're certainly keen to continue working offshore and have four projects in various states of advancement that will allow us to use the lessons from Scroby in larger developments." The reports were produced under the terms of the government's award of a £10 million capital grant to each of the wind farms.
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Senior Renewable Energy Analyst (WindGEMINI Product Lead) DNV GL Bristol (City Centre), City of Bristol