Gamesa Technology Corp., a global wind energy company, and the shipbuilding operations of Northrop Grumman Corp., America's largest shipbuilder, launched the Offshore Wind Technology Center to jointly develop the next generation of offshore wind systems that will be deployed in the United States and around the world. Plans call for the development of North America's first offshore wind turbines by late next year.
"Virginia is pleased to be the nexus where two industry leaders will join forces in the name of offshore wind innovation," said Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell. "The Commonwealth offers all the attributes needed to provide an optimal location for offshore wind energy production, and to become the East Coast epicenter for the offshore wind supply chain. 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. The opportunity to leverage both centers movesVirginia 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 to cooperate on the launch of Gamesa's first G11X-5.0 MW offshore prototype in the United States, using Gamesa's multi-megawatt technology and Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding's broad experience in challenging marine environments.
Since then, Gamesa and Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding 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 United States. The highly skilled team will oversee the design and development of the wind turbine and testing of the prototypes. The team's immediate goal is to install the first two Gamesa G11X-5.0 MW offshore prototypes -- one onshore and one offshore for comprehensive validation testing -- by the fourth quarter of 2012.
"We needed to find the best partner for the marine environments, someone capable of meeting Gamesa's high performance standards, and we found that partner in Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding," said Dirk Matthys, Chairman and CEO of Gamesa North
America. "This venture will enable Gamesa, already one the world's leading designers, manufacturers, installers and maintainers of land-based wind turbines, to put our technology to work to design the first generation of offshore wind technology that will meet the rising demand for clean, sustainable energy."
Matthys stressed that the partnership between Gamesa and Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding ensures 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 minimizing the cost of generating electricity.
"Gamesa's priorities are well aligned with the strategy outlined by U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu and U.S. Interior SecretaryKen Salazar earlier this week," Matthys added. "Our Chesapeake Offshore Wind Technology Center is just the latest example of our longtime leadership in developing advanced solutions for wind energy."
Attending the launch of the Offshore Wind Technology Center on behalf of the U.S. Department of Energy was Jacques Beaudry-Losique, Wind & Water Program Manager in the department's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.
"Today represents a new chapter in our company's long and distinguished history," said Matt Mulherin, Vice President and General Manager for Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding. "We are very proud to be teamed with such an innovative and highly-respected industry leader like Gamesa, and we look forward to bringing our 125 years of engineering, design and manufacturing expertise to this project."
Britt Theismann, Chief Operating Officer of the American Wind Energy Association, said: "Offshore wind development is the next big thing for the American Wind industry, and this center is a major milestone in our progress to harness these vast resources to power our economy and put people to work. Through this new center, Gamesa and Northrop Grumman are creating a new and revolutionary addition to the wind energy supply chain, right here in America. This facility is another example of the many jobs and economic benefits the wind industry is bringing to this country. Wind power is clean, affordable and homegrown."
"Chesapeake takes pride in an environment that offers a central location, a highly-skilled work force and access to multiple markets, all of which are qualities that have drawn world-class businesses like Gamesa and Northrop Grumman to our city,"Chesapeake Mayor Alan P. Krasnoff said. "These two companies -- both leaders in the growing energy sector -- are opening new doors and creating new opportunities for our city and our Commonwealth, and Chesapeake is happy to welcome them with open arms."