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Wind power innovator hits out at timid policy

A Kiwi company leading the charge on wind power is critical of policies it says are making it almost impossible to turn good ideas into export earnings.

Gyro Technologies' Gyroscopic Variable Transmission (GVT), designed by New Zealander Jega Jegatheeson, has been singled out for for special mention in a new book, Innovation in Wind Turbine Design.

Gyro Technologies has issued a request for proposals for suitable companies to collaborate on building and testing a full scale GVT prototype.

But according to Carbon News, Gyro Technologies board member and consultant Warren Snow says despite major international interest, developing the concept further is proving difficult due to a risk-averse government and industry.

“There is a lack of risk-taking in government, but this is an area in which risk is the name of the game,” he said.

He said while government investment was available, companies are required to match it with private funding, and the Ministry of Science and Innovation was reluctant to invest in projects perceived as risky.

He wanted to see the government increase the amount it will grant without requiring matching private investment from $5000 to $100,000.

Gyro Technologies wants to base manufacturing in New Zealand, Snow said.

Its technology reduces stress on wind turbines and uses gyroscopic reaction forces to transfer power from the blades to the generator. It is cheaper to produce than traditional gearboxes can, and also reduces ongoing maintenance and downtime costs – Snow says current wind farms face waits of up to a year to get gearboxes repaired.