The construction of a giant wind blade at Vestas’ UK R&D centre has been delayed, the Danish turbine manufacturer said today, as it posted worse than expected first quarter operating losses.
said its new seven megawatt prototype being developed at its R&D
factory on the Isle of Wight would now not be ready until 2014. The first V164-7.0 MW
had expected to be completed at the end of the year. The company also confirmed today that it was talking to potential partners on "the further development" of the giant turbine, which has a blade 80 metres long and is being designed to withstand the roughest offshore conditions.
The delay to the development of the blade was announced as the world’s biggest wind turbine maker reported operating
losses of €245 million (£199 million) for January to March, compared to €69 million (£56 million) a year earlier. The results, which the company described as "disappointing", were blamed on cost overuns and faulty equipment. The company was forced to set aside €40 million (£32.5 million) to repair gearboxes in one of its wind turbine models, the company said.
Vestas first unveiled plans for the V164-7.0 MW
13 months ago. At the time, it said it would be "obvious and ideal choice" for many UK Round 3 offshore farms, able to provide the "highest energy capture and the highest reliability" in deepwater conditions around the UK coast.
In a statement, today, the company said: "The development of the potentially leading offshore platform, the V164-7.0 MW turbine, continues; however, to align the expected serial production date with Vestas’ current offshore market outlook, Vestas has reduced the pace of development. The prototype is now expected to be installed in Denmark during 2014."
It added: "Vestas has received inquiries from potential partners on the further development of the V1644-7.0 MW turbine."
UK turbine plant
A spokesperson for the company refused to comment further about either of these developments or about the company’s plans to build a UK turbine manufacturing plant
at the Port of Sherness in Kent. Those plans were also unveiled last year and at the time the company said it would only go ahead with the factory if market conditions were right.
Since then, Vestas shares have taken a battering as the company has been hit by internal problems and a depressed wind turbine market, leading it to restructure the company and shed staff. It has issued two profit warnings in recent months.
Despite today's poor results, the company said it had recorded the "highest ever" intake of orders in the first quarter of 2012, totalling 1,269 megawatts.
Shares in Vestas fell 10 per cent on the back of the first quarter results.
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