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Wind Turbines

Volume 124: debated on Tuesday 15 December 1987

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To ask the Secretary of State for Energy what information he has of the relative costs per kilowatt installed of 60 m diameter wind turbine generators compared with 3·5 m rotor diameter equipment.

The installed cost for 3·5 m diameter and similar machines is of the order of £500 per kilowatt. The larger machines of around 60 m diameter are all prototypes and no data are yet available of the installed costs for production-run machines of this size. Part of my Department's wind energy research and development programme is to investigate the optimum size of wind turbine generators for electricity production in this country.

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy what experiments are being carried out as to the effectiveness of the Danwin wind turbine; and if he will make a statement.

The Danwin machine, which is 23 m in diameter and rated at 180 kW, is one of many commercially available machines and is paralleled closely by similar 25 m machines being manufactured by British companies for centralised electricity generation. My Department's research and development programme in wind energy includes investigations of the relative merits of machines of different sizes and types.

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy what study he has made of the development of windpower in California; and what were his conclusions as to the application to the United Kingdom of the system used in California.

My Department is well aware of the expansion in the use of wind energy for power generation in California over recent years and is following developments there closely. Visits have been made to Californian wind energy sites by my hon. Friend the Member for Wirral, West (Mr. Hunt) by officials from my Department and from the Energy Technology Support Unit, including programme managers, and by the chairman of the advisory Wind Energy Steering Committee. In addition, two British manufacturers, who are involved in my Department's wind energy research and development programme, have installed a number of machines in California: we are monitoring their progress.