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United States

Gamesa US offshore prototype clears another hurdle

UNITED STATES: Approval by the US Army Corps of Engineers and the US Coast Guard now represents the final hurdle before Gamesa's prototype 5MW offshore wind turbine can be deployed off the coast of Virginia.

State Governor Bob McDonnell announced yesterday that the Virginia Marine Resources Commission (WMRC) had voted unanimously to approve construction of the 146 metre turbine in around 18 metres of water in Lower Chesapeake Bay, three miles off the town of Cape Charles. If final approval is granted the turbine could be installed and operating by late 2013.

Gamesa Energy USA is working with Huntingdon Ingalis Newport News Shipbuilding to develop the G11X turbine for future US offshore projects. The installed prototype will enable testing and evaluation to take place.

VMRC's approval came with several stipulations. Gamesa must post a bond of $2.1 million to pay for the removal of the structure if it is decommissioned, it must make a payment of $52,667 for use of the state-owned sea bed, and undertake a comprehensive scientific study of the turbine's potential underwater acoustic impact on marine life.

Scientific surveys for the scheme were first approved by VMRC in March 2011.

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