BP, Shell Back Development of World’s Longest Wind Turbine Blade

The Energy Technologies Institute, backed by Royal Dutch Shell Plc and BP Plc, invested 15.5 million pounds ($25 million) in the U.K. to build the world’s longest turbine blades to try to curb offshore wind costs.

It will build blades as long as 100 meters (328 feet) for turbines at sea, Loughborough, England-based ETI said today in a statement. Offshore blades are currently 60 to 75 meters long.

Britain is encouraging technologies that reduce the cost of offshore wind, now at about 161 euros ($210) a megawatt-hour, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance. The government, also a backer of ETI, is trying to cut the level to 100 pounds ($161) a megawatt-hour by 2020 to spur offshore wind projects.

ETI appointed Isle of Wight-based Blade Dynamics Ltd. to produce the blades in late 2014. The institute will also invest in the company. The blades, made with carbon fibre, will weigh about 40 percent less than conventional fibre-glass units and are expected to be the world’s longest, ETI said.

They are intended for bigger ocean turbines being developed with capacities of as much as 10 megawatts, compared with the 5-to 6-megawatt machines currently sold. Vestas Wind Systems A/S of Denmark plans an 8-megawatt turbine. Caterpillar Inc., EDF Energy Plc, EON SE and Rolls-Royce Holdings Plc also back ETI.

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