Spanish wind power company Gamesa believes the US offshore wind power market is lagging behind the rest of the world.

It said that the countries setting the pace for offshore development are the UK, Germany, France and China, and is pushing ahead with plans for an offshore turbine manufacturing centre in Scotland.

Offshore wind farm

The company has also chosen to locate the prototype of its first offshore turbine, the 50 Hz, 5 MW G128, off Spain’s Canary Islands.

Gamesa expects to begin installing the prototype in the second quarter of 2013, and assuming it wins all necessary certification and permits, to build an offshore wind farm towards the end of next year or early 2014.

Gamesa selected Arinaga, off Gran Canaria, for the turbine on the basis of technical considerations for certification, wind conditions in the region, market performance and customer investment plans and its forecast.

The installation means that Gamesa’s R&D centre in Cape Charles in the US – which designed the turbine – will be wound down, as the company does not believe the US market offers opportunities for the G128 at the moment.

Gamesa chairman Jorge Calvet said: “The milestone to design a competitive offshore turbine in Virginia has been fulfilled, but the prospects for the US offshore market and its regulatory conditions in this segment so far do not justify the next step, the installation of a prototype in the US.”

He added that “the offshore wind power market is developing at a firm pace”, and singled out the UK, Germany, France and China as those countries most committed to offshore wind. The US, meanwhile, “appears to be set to develop later than others”.

Meanwhile, Gamesa is in talks with the Forth Ports at Leith in Scotland on setting up an offshore manufacturing base in the UK.

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