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BP and Clipper Windpower Enter Into Strategic Alliance

The Liberty turbine.

Clipper Windpower and BP Alternative Energy have entered into a strategic alliance for a long-term turbine supply agreement and the joint development of five of Clipper’s wind energy projects in the USA.

The five wind projects, with an anticipated total generating capacity of 2,015 MW, are located in New York, Texas, and South Dakota. Under the long-term supply agreement, BP has secured a mix of firm and contingent orders of up to 2,250 MW of additional Clipper turbines in its global wind portfolio.

The Clipper/BP Alternative Energy joint development portfolio will be developed over a five year period. Each project will deploy Clipper’s advanced Liberty wind turbines. The projects will be jointly owned by the two companies with Clipper serving as the project operator in two projects and BP Alternative Energy serving as the project operator in the other three.

We believe the Clipper turbine is a break-through in reducing the total cost of renewable energy and we are pleased to be the first large customer for this innovative technology. Our strategic relationship with Clipper represents an important step in expanding BP’s low-carbon power business.

—Steve Westwell, CEO of BP Alternative Energy

The Liberty 2.5MW wind turbine is Clipper’s fourth-generation machine. It is based on Clipper’s patented Quantum Distributed Generation Power-train, DGEN-Q. DGEN-Q uses a compact two-stage helical distributed design. A total of four high-speed output shafts split torque loads from the rotor mainshaft to the generators by a factor that is four times greater than standard gearboxes, according to Clipper.

Liberty also employs two pre-loaded, low-speed tapered-roller main bearings to absorb thrust loads, preventing damage, minimizing downtime and extending turbine life. There is no problematic axial motion or mainshaft mis-alignment in Liberty as both are also stabilized through her two robust tapered roller main bearings.

Liberty’s high-speed gear sets are in cartridge form and can be easily replaced with the on-board hoist without the removal of the gearbox, further reducing costs.


Each turbine uses four permanent magnet (synchronous) generators rated at 660 kW each. Liberty’s generator control technology supports a wide range variable rotor speed, improving turbine aerodynamic efficiency by adjusting to ever-changing wind velocities, briefly storing and releasing energy from wind gusts while also reducing torque spikes. The turbine will continue to operate even with a generator outage.

As part of the long-term turbine supply agreement, BP Alternative Energy has committed to the purchase of 100MW of Liberty turbines in 2007 and 200MW in 2008 which it will use on other projects in BP’s global wind business. These orders represent the initial firm deliveries under the long-term supply agreement for up to 900 Liberty turbines over the next five years.

In recognition of the long-term strategic relationship between Clipper Windpower and BP Alternative Energy, BP has acquired a five-year share option for a 10% equity interest at £3.77 (US$6.92) per share in Clipper Windpower (subject to final approval of the Clipper Shareholders).

BP has agreed to acquire a 50% interest in the project portfolio along with an option to acquire an interest in Clipper Windpower Plc representing 9,596,681 ordinary shares in the capital of the Company and a turbine supply option, for a total of $30 million. In addition, BP has agreed to pay Clipper up to US$30 million upon successful completion of the development projects. BP will also make a US$30 million down payment for the 300MW Liberty turbines for delivery in 2007/2008.

Clipper Windpower designs advanced wind turbines, manufactures its 2.5-MW Liberty wind turbine and actively develops wind power generating projects in the Americas and Europe. Clipper’s project development activities include approximately 6,000 MW of wind resource rights, with new project sites being actively pursued.



"Each turbine uses four permanent magnet (synchronous) generators rated at 660 kW each."

That would mean 2.640 MW each turbine. And 2015 MW means over 760 of these turbines. Where would they place these gigantic rotors?


rexis: The five wind projects, with an anticipated total generating capacity of 2,015 MW, are located in New York, Texas, and South Dakota.
that's where they would place them. wind farms, and lots of 'em, apparently. 760 isn't that much though, esp spread over 3 states and one of them is south dakota.

allen Z

Putting wind turbines makes some family farms financially viable due to electric utility checks. Some in northern NY state had them because of a state green electricity program. They bring 5-10 grand a year each. Some modest sized farms could have 4 or 5 on the edges of their property, bringing in a potential $50,000 a year. It is not chump change. Now do the same in North Dakota with small family farms, and maybe you will se the decline in some small Great Plains towns stop/reverse.


Aside from the royalties paid to the landowners who allow these things to be erected on their farms, the construction of regional supply and repaire bases should have a positive effect on small town economies. There are a number of anti-windmill groups out there, particularly in Massachusetts and upstate New York, and I only hope that they don't derail these projects too badly. Clean electricity is a critical need in the years ahead.


Why would it be more efficient having 4 generators (with a more complex gearset - read less efficient than single stage gearbox) in a single wind turbine?

Typically, the larger an electric motor / generator, the higher it's efficiency (up to 99,8% with large, multi-MW rated generators).

I can see the point of having two instead of one generators, in order to minimize offline time for a wind turbine due to malfunctions in the generator. However, most problems which lead to a stopped wind turbine are not in the electric generator, but in the bearing and gearbox anyway (electric motors/generators are virtually maintenance free over periods of years, it build decently).

Besides, using high pole number generators should allow attaching the blades directly without any gearset (ie. removing the only 96-98% efficiency of a typical, single-stage, fixed gearset).


Having four separate generators would allow them to partially unload the turbine during low wind speed conditions. this would keep the rotor speed higher and keep efficiency up. The efficiency of permanent magnet generators is very high, but there is no easy way to adjust the load.
Four smaller generators also allows them to replace one of them if it "goes bad" using only the on board crane. This would lower the logistical requirements for turbine repair.

Harvey D.

Design diversity normally leads to higher overall performance and lower cost.

NBK-Boston. You are correct. Our 3,000 MW (between 1000 and 1500 new wind mills) local wind energy program is also feeding all kind of full time protestors. Some even claim that the blades will kill all the nice mosquistos, obscure the sky, deafen all humans and animals, etc.

Of course, most of the protestors live in large cities, 1000 Km from the wind mills, and have (or will) never seen a large wind mill.

When coupled with hydro-power, wind energy is an excellent clean product. Our local hydro-electric power supplier is planning to add up to 20 000 MW of wind power at the rate of 1000 to 2000 a year. The total local wind power potential is about 95 000 MW.

Some, and even a majority of that new clean power, will go south to NY/Mass/Conn/++ and west to Ontario. It may compensate for some of the dirty oil going south form Alberta.


Funny thing about the Clipper Windpower website; their specs say their turbines are built for "wind class" I, II and III with wind class 1 having the smallest blades.
Someone should tell them the wind class rating system goes the other way - Wind class 1 has wind speeds next to zero and nobody is going install a 2.5MW wind turbine in anything less than Wind class 4.

Kevin Hackett

Hey it just wasn't 20 years ago the government was handing out big tax credits to the fools looking to help uncle sam ! GIVE ME THE RATE OF RETURN & SAM CAN MAKE HIS OWN BUCK . PLEASE SEND ME THE RATE OF RETURN PER OPPIONS / WARRENTS / STOCK MY BE A GOOD THING AS CONPANIES GO ?


Protests against wind farms are sparked all around the world (notably in GB) when installation intrudes into natural beauty of pristine landscape. Nobody is protesting when wind turbines are installed on industrial property, where it probably belongs.

shaun mann

people protest hydro, wind, coal, oil, natural gas, nuclear, and, when it matures, i'm sure they'll protest wave and tidal.

nobody protests solar, but solar costs 20x as much as the industrial rate for electricity in most places.

do you think such people would still protest if they had their energy supply turned off for a week (no car, no heat, no electricity, no woodstove (b/c wood pollutes more than natural gas), no food grown with the use of energy supplies, no house, no clothes, no water, no modern industrial products of any variety)

i don't. i think most of them would be dead within that first week.

then people who understand that our energy has to come from somewhere can carry on providing the foundation of wealth for the modern world.

Adrian Akau

The Chinese are developing technology to apply magnetic levitation to wind turbines. By using magnetic bearings, the generators are supposed to be able to work more efficiently and also at lower wind speeds thus bringing down the cost per kilowatt.

I guess this plan may be similar in thought to the Liberty wind turbines. By using 4 smaller generators instead of one large generator, it should take less wind energy to start up one of the smaller ones. Then as the wind speed increases, more of the generators could be engaged.

It seems that this type of incremental stage addition might also be good for wind energy power distribution since power must be sent in blocks to demand sectors. By frequently monitoring demand and matching it with supply, maximum use might be made of variable renewable sources by matching it with variable demand. I think that technological development should lead in this direction.

By using multiple renewable sources, variations per unit time in supply should be minimized so that better use could be made from the incoming supply. Also, incoming supply could then be better utilized with relatively stable sources such as thermal generation and hydropower.

It is predicted that the grid system could presently handle 20% renewable sources but if renewable sources could be made more uniform and more reliable (perhaps by storage methods) then I think that the percent allowance for renewable energy entering a grid system could probably be raised in the next decade or so.



I agree with you on ALL your points. Personally I do not care about wind turbines intruding natural landscape. At list turbines could be easily dismantled at the end of their life. I have doubts about nuclear power, but do not oppose it either. I am big proponent of hydro in mountainous terrain, and distributed solar too. But some people, as you pointed out, will protest everything. Not me.


Actually, in California there was a lot of small time protesting usually against specific installations because they were "unsightly". Cali wisely made a law that city ordinances and HOAs can't interfere with a solar project if their demands add more than $2000 in installation costs or reduces the performance of the system by 10%. Hopefully that legislation will set a precident as more and more states ramp up their solar installations.

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