At its March 27, 2012, meeting, the Virginia Marine Resources Commission (VMRC) approved construction of a five-megawatt, wind-energy prototype turbine in the Chesapeake Bay, about three miles offshore from the Northampton County town of Cape Charles. According to a news release from the Virginia governor’s office, the project is to be done by Gamesa Energy USA in partnership with Huntingon Ingalls Newport News Shipbuilding and is intended to test new offshore technology developed by the Gamesa company, which has installed wind-energy projects in 30 countries. The prototype turbine will include a tower with a maximum blade tip height of 479 feet above mean sea level and about 15,200 feet of submerged power cable, buried below the seabed, connecting the turbine to the electrical grid at Cape Charles. VMRC stipulations for the project included the following: 1) Gamers is to post a bond or letter of credit of at least $2.1 million to pay for removing the structure if it is decommissioned; 2) Gamesa is to pay a one-time royalty of $52,667 for use of the state-owned water bottom; and 3) Gamesa is to commission a comprehensive scientific study of the turbine’s underwater acoustical potential impact on marine life under a variety of wind and weather conditions. The proposed project still needs approval from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the U.S. Coast Guard. If all permits are granted, construction is scheduled to be completed by late 2013.
Source: Governor McDonnell Announces Virginia on Track to Install America’s First Offshore Wind Energy Turbine, Virginia Governor’s Office News Release, 3/27/12.
News accounts included the following:
Virginia approves first offshore wind-energy turbine, Norfolk Virginian-Pilot, 3/28/12;
Virginia approves what could be first U.S. offshore wind turbine, Newport News (Va.) Daily Press, 3/28/12;
Virginia Approves Gamesa Offshore Turbine in Chesapeake Bay, Bloomberg, 3/27/12; and
Towering wind turbine prototype off Va. approved, BusinessWeek, 3/27/12.