Gamesa Technology Corp. and the shipbuilding operations of Northrop Grumman Corp. have launched the Offshore Wind Technology Center in Chesapeake, Va., to jointly develop the next generation of offshore wind systems that will be deployed in the U.S. and around the world. Plans call for the development of North America's first offshore wind turbines by late next year.
‘This partnership between Gamesa and Northrop Grumman shares similar goals with the National Offshore Wind Technology Center being developed in Hampton Roads, which the commonwealth also supports,’ says Gov. Bob McDonnell, R-Va. ‘The opportunity to leverage both centers moves Virginia forward in our effort to become the energy capital of the East Coast and a leader in the nation's offshore wind industry.’
The opening of the center builds on the alliance the two companies formed in October 2010 to cooperate on the launch of Gamesa's first G11X-5.0 MW offshore prototype in the U.S., using Gamesa's multi-megawatt technology and Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding's experience in challenging marine environments.
Since then, the companies have put in place a team of nearly 50 engineers focusing on the development of Gamesa's G11X-5.0 MW offshore prototype in the U.S.
The team will oversee the design and development of the wind turbine and testing of the prototypes. The team's goal is to install the first two prototypes – one onshore, where verification testing is faster, and the other offshore – by the fourth quarter of 2012.
Dirk Matthys, chairman and CEO of Gamesa North America, says that the partnership between Gamesa and Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding ensures that an integrated approach to the design will be met. An integrated design and logistics support approach of the wind turbine systems will address the market's main concerns, namely turbine reliability, low maintenance and servicing requirements, and lower costs of generating electricity.