Eleven companies and 22 research centres have joined forces in a major Spanish initiative to build a 15 MW offshore wind turbine.

The Azimut project will be led by Gamesa of Spain but includes Alstom Wind, Acciona Windpower, Iberdrola Renovables and Acciona Energía as lead partners. Their aim is to develop the first 15 MW unit by around 2020.

According to Gamesa, increasing unit sizes of offshore wind turbines will help the wind industry to overcome some of the technical and financial hurdles that it currently faces.

A similar project in the UK led by Clipper Windpower aims to develop a 10 MW offshore wind turbine.

Azimut’s other participants include Técnicas Reunidas, Ingeteam, Ingeciber, Imatia, Tecnitest Ingenieros and DIgSILENT Ibérica. The project is also being backed by Spain’s Centre for the Development of Industrial Technology (CDTI), a unit of the Science and Innovation Ministry.

The partners are aiming to define a project schedule by 2013. Gamesa will head activities related to offshore wind energy capture, while Acciona Windpower will be responsible for electricity conversion technologies.

Alstom Wind will manage the marine structure and substructure segment, and Acciona Energía will head construction, operation and maintenance at offshore sites.

Iberdrola Renovables will be responsible for managing the integration of offshore wind energy into the electricity grid.

The project will require a total investment of €25 million over the next four years and will be co-financed by the participating companies.