British wind energy research was badly misguided during the early 1980s by the influence of the former Central Electricity Generating Board, according to the National Audit Office (NAO). A report published in January by the NAO, a government watchdog, says that too much money was poured into development of large megawatt-scale turbines. As a result, British manufacturers have captured only 20% of the domestic market for medium sized turbines and achieved only modest exports. In contrast, Danish and US wind turbine manufacturers have nearly 100% and 60% of their domestic markets, respectively. The NAO also reports that while UK research switched to medium-scale wind turbines after 1987, small wind turbine manufacturers serving niche markets at home and abroad have been almost totally ignored. The only upbeat conclusion to be drawn from the NAO report is that UK government funding of renewable energy research in general has been well spent.
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Senior Renewable Energy Analyst (WindGEMINI Product Lead) DNV GL Bristol (City Centre), City of Bristol