Gamesa has marked a major milestone in its offshore wind turbine development strategy with the selection of the site to deploy its first offshore prototype.

The Spanish wind turbine manufacturer has announced that it will install a 5 MW offshore turbine at Arinaga Quay in Gran Canary Island, Spain. It has frozen plans for a prototype project in the state of Virginia, USA.

Gamesa said in a statement that its decision to choose the Canary Island location was driven by technical and wind resource consideration, offshore market trends and investment return criteria. It also said that it could not justify proceeding with a prototype project in the USA given the prospects for the US offshore wind market and regulatory conditions there.

Gamesa is planning to start installation of the G128-5.0 MW prototype in the second quarter of 2013. It will be the first offshore turbine to be installed in Spain.

Gamesa’s priority in the offshore market is to achieve product certification in order to guarantee the successful launch, marketing and manufacturing of its offshore platforms in the years ahead. It says that the Arinaga Quay location boasts optimal conditions for the project because of its high wind resources, availability of wind data a meteorological towers.

It hopes to achieve certification of the prototype in 2013 and install pre-series turbines in an offshore wind farm in late 2013 or early 2014. The G128-5.0 MW has a 128 m rotor diameter and is based largely on Gamesa’s G10X-4.5 MW wind turbine platform.

Gamesa has confirmed its commitment to the onshore wind market in the USA, where it has become the third largest supplier of wind turbines. Jorge Calvet, Chairman and CEO of Gamesa said that the US offshore wind market “appears to be set to develop later than others”.

“The offshore wind power market is developing at a firm pace,” said Calvet. “However, demand is being tempered by economic and financial factors and the difficulties being encountered by developers in accessing credit.

“The authorities are firmly committed to the development of offshore wind power in major markets such as the UK, Germany, France and China.”