Spanish wind giant Gamesa Energy Inc. has won state approval to build a 479-foot prototype of a wind turbine off Virginia.
The Virginia Marine Resources Commission unanimously approved the 5-megawatt wind turbine in the lower Chesapeake Bay. The project still needs backing of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and a review by the Coast Guard.
The project has a late 2013 completion date. The prototype is the first publicly announced product to emerge from a partnership between Gamesa and Huntington Ingalls Newport News Shipbuilding.
Proponents of offshore wind energy have said Virginia's deep water port and shipbuilding facilities are assets for a slowly emerging industry that could create thousands of jobs.
The power generated by the turbine is to be transmitted to the state power grid for public use.