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Wind turbines are to power two new unmanned gas platforms in the North Sea. Four 5 kW turbines are to be installed next year by Amoco Exploration Company on its Davy and Bessemer platforms some 60 miles off the East Anglian coast in a bid to reduce costs. The turbines are being supplied by small company, Vergnet of France, which says it won the contract in competition with Bergey Windpower of the US. The £200,000 venture is expected to reduce diesel costs by 85% and allow a smaller generator than usual to be installed. It will also mean a 50% saving on helicopter visits needed to maintain conventional diesel plant. Amoco selected wind power following a feasibility study of a range of renewable energies -- conducted by the Centre for Alternative Technology at Machynlleth in Powys, Wales. Amoco claims the concept has already attracted interest within the gas exploration industry and could lead to similar savings on other offshore platforms, both in the North Sea and internationally.

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