The biggest grant, £4.4 million, is going to Clipper Windpower to develop a prototype blade for its 10 MW Britannia turbine project. Clipper now expects to start work on a plant in north-east England, where the 70 metre blades will be developed. Over £1 million is going to Siemens Windpower UK to develop the next generation of power convertors for its larger offshore turbine. And Artemis Intelligent Power is getting £1 million to transfer its digital displacement transmissions technology from the automotive applications to wind energy. The grants are the latest awarded under the £10 million first phase of the government's Low Carbon Energy Demonstration capital grants programme to bring forward new turbine technology for offshore deployment. Vestas was awarded around £3 million from the programme in August, combined with over £3m of funding from the South East England Development Agency, to expand its research and development centre on the Isle of Wight. Energy Minister Ed Miliband says: "We already have more offshore wind energy than any other country, we have the biggest wind farm in the world about to start construction and now we'll see the biggest turbine blades in the world made here in Britain."
Scottish and Southern Energy refuses to confirm or deny media reports that damage or cracks have been discovered in some of the monopile foundations that are due to be installed at its Greater Gabbard offshore wind farm off Suffolk. However the company firmly denies reports that work on site has stopped. "Work continues," says a spokesman, adding that there are already a number of monopiles in the water. "There were some queries on the state of the monopoles from China," he says, adding that quality assurance work on the monopiles is currently under way. "We have got a process in place that ensures the quality of the monopiles is sufficient when they go into the sea." The monopiles are currently at Vlissingen in the Netherlands from where they are shipped to the site off the east coast of England.