Dong launches wind turbine demo project in Britain

Greg Barker speaks in front of a new interactive Google Earth map showing the impact of a rise in temperatures on Earth, in London July 14, 2010. REUTERS/Paul Hackett

LONDON (Reuters) - Dong Energy launched a project on Thursday to test two new giant offshore turbines at its wind farm off England's Essex coast, marking a step forward in the next generation of wind turbine technology. Energy minister Greg Barker opened the extension to Dong's 172-megawatt (MW) Gunfleet Sands wind farm, off Clacton-on-Sea. The 6-MW turbines were supplied by Siemens. The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) said the turbines have the potential significantly to cut the cost of producing renewable energy from offshore wind. The turbines will be tested to help Dong understand how the technology could be rolled out in future British projects. Last year, Danish state-owned oil and gas group Dong agreed to buy 300 giant offshore wind turbines with a total capacity of 1,800 MW from Siemens for its British wind farms. Financial details were not disclosed, but wind turbines usually cost around 1 million euros (821.8 thousand pounds) per MW of capacity. Many turbines installed off the British coastline are variations on those designed for use onshore. "The new generation used at Gunfleet will be more cost-effective and efficient, improving the UK's energy security and increasing the amount of energy generated from renewables," DECC said in a statement. (Reporting by Nina Chestney; Editing by Dale Hudson)