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Gamesa and Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding team up on offshore wind turbine technology

Spanish wind turbine manufacturer Gamesa and the shipbuilding division of US defence company Northrop Grumman Corporation have signed an agreement to launch Gamesa’s first prototype offshore wind turbine in the USA, and to jointly develop new offshore wind systems.

The agreement calls for the installation of two prototype Gamesa G11X-5.0 MW turbines in the fourth quarter of 2012.

Gamesa is currently designing its G11X- 5.0 MW offshore wind turbine using technologies already validated in the G10X-4.5 MW platform, a 4.5 MW turbine with a 128 m diameter rotor and 120 m tower. Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding, Newport News, Virginia, will contribute its expertise in heavy load logistics, systems performance and reliability in challenging marine environments to the project.

Gamesa and Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding are setting up a team of up to 40 engineers in the Hampton Roads area of Virginia. This team will perform the preliminary work required to install the first G11X-5.0 MW prototype in the USA, including site selection, permitting, final construction and installation of the prototype, and testing.

Offshore wind market

”Gamesa has said before that it intends to play a significant role in the offshore market to ensure that it can tap the demand generated in the Northern European market, specifically the United Kingdom, starting in 2015, as well in the United States," says Dirk Matthys, CEO of Gamesa in the USA. "Our alliance with Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding - Newport News will give us the opportunity to test our technology on a short-term horizon, as well as to enhance and strengthen it, thanks to the skills and experience offered by a global leader in naval structures.” 

Offshore wind projects totalling more than 5000 MW have been proposed and are in the planning or development stages in the USA.

The turbine and foundation systems created by Gamesa and Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding will address the market’s main concerns – efficiency of civil engineering infrastructures (the number 1 investment expense in offshore wind), turbine reliability, low maintenance and servicing requirements, and minimising the cost of generating electricity.

New offshore turbines offering higher installed capacity will be required to meet expected demand in the offshore wind energy market in the medium and long term. Gamesa is already working on another family of offshore turbines featuring a capacity of 6-7 MW.

Gamesa started operations in the USA in 2005 and has two manufacturing plants in Pennsylvania. It currently employs 900 people in North America.

Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding is the largest shipbuilder in America and designs, builds and repairs a wide variety of ships for the US Navy, the US Coast Guard and world navies.

 

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Policy, investment and markets  •  Wind power

 

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