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Scientific Surveys Underway for Virginia Offshore Wind Energy Project

July 6, 2011 – Newport News, Virginia – Studies are underway to support the development and installation of a prototype 5-megawatt wind turbine generator (WTG) approximately 3 miles off the coast of Cape Charles on the Eastern Shore of Virginia. The project, which has been proposed by Gamesa Energy USA, LLC (Gamesa) and Newport News Shipbuilding (NNS), is intended to facilitate certification and validation requirements for the WTG’s operational performance for commercial deployment in world wide markets, including the east coast of the United States .

Over the past two months, scientists, including those from ESS Group, Inc., have been monitoring migratory bird populations, mapping seafloor topography, characterizing geologic conditions through the use of remote sensing technology and acquisition of sediment samples, and characterizing the benthic communities within a 1.2-square-mile study area at the proposed offshore test site. Results of these investigations will be used to characterize existing conditions and evaluate the suitability of the area for construction and operation of the proposed wind turbine generator. Field studies and data analysis will continue throughout the summer and into the fall. The Virginia Marine Resources Commission unanimously approved the sediment sampling program in April.   

Virginia is poised for success in offshore wind and ESS is pleased to be on Gamesa’s team for this important project,” commented President & CEO Charles Natale. 

In addition to the offshore turbine, Gamesa and NNS intend to install a second 5-MW WTG on land in Cape Charles to make it easier to test the prototype throughout the operational period. Both prototype turbines could be erected and operational by next summer. Electricity generated by the turbines would be connected to the existing electric transmission grid in order to provide a clean renewable source throughout the lifetime of the project.

Visit ESSGroup.com for more information on ESS Energy Services.