The Virginia Marine Resources Commission unanimously approved Spanish-turbine company Gamesa Energy’s plan to construct a wind turbine of epic proportions off the coast of Virgina’s eastern shore.
This prototype 5-megawatt wind turbine is a hulking 479-feet. It will be placed in the lower Chesapeake Bay three miles off the coast of Cape Charles. The project still needs to be approved by the US Army Corps of Engineers and the Coast Guard, but should it cut the mustard, it would be the first wind turbine in US waters. If everything goes according to plan, the turbine could be completed in late 2013.
The prototype is the first announced product from a pact between Gamesa and Huntington Ingalls Newport News Shipbuilding, the latter’s part of the bargain being building ships big enough to transport these large turbine parts.
Gamesa’s prototype will also serve as a practical test for its new offshore technology it has scheduled for commercial use by 2015.
Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell stated the turbine is not only an important step in the right direction for the construction of wind farms off Virginia’s coast, but also the possibility of creating a whole onshore wind industry.
“This step forward holds tremendous potential for jobs and economic development here in the future,” Governor McDonnell said.
The announcement of this prototype coincides with Dominion Virginia Power recently announcing its plan to lease 113,000 acres 24 miles off the Virginia coast for offshore wind development. These leases have the possibility of generating almost 2,000 megawatts of electricity, or enough to power 500,000 U.S. households.