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Wind Program R&D Newsletter

This U.S. Department of Energy Wind Program Newsletter provides recent news about the program's R&D projects, its accomplishments, upcoming events, funding opportunities, and recent publications.

Letter from the Wind Program Director

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It’s an exciting time for the U.S. offshore wind industry. After more than 15 years of laying the groundwork, the United States has finally hit a crucial milestone: in July, Deepwater Wind began offshore construction on what will be the nation’s first offshore wind project. The 30-megawatt (MW) Block Island Wind Farm promises to significantly lower electricity prices for the residents of Block Island, provide substantial clean energy to the mainland townships of the southern region of Rhode Island, and generate up to 300 jobs during construction. More

DOE IN THE NEWS

DOE Looks to the Future of Offshore Wind

Turning the page on the largely successful 2011 joint offshore wind strategy developed in partnership with the U.S. Department of the Interior, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Wind Program is now reaching ahead to develop a new offshore wind strategy that builds on the original. Since 2011, DOE has funded 42 research and development projects across 20 states to advance wind turbine design tools and hardware, improve information about U.S. offshore wind resources, and accelerate the deployment of offshore wind. More

DOE-Funded Project Develops Safer Access to Offshore Wind Turbine Platforms

Although the U.S. offshore wind industry could create thousands of jobs across the country and drive billions of dollars in local economic investments, one challenge with offshore wind is that technicians cannot just hop in a truck to go perform maintenance. After the boat ride out to the offshore wind turbine, an offshore worker has to account for the wind and the swell of the waves to make a perfectly timed step off the boat onto the access ladder. To meet U.S. regulations for the narrow gap between the boat and the access ladder, Fishermen’s Energy and Keystone Engineering came up with an innovative solution. More  

DOE Wind Program Presentations and Posters at AWEA Offshore WINDPOWER 2015

DOE's Wind Program will once again host a booth at the AWEA Offshore WINDPOWER Conference and Exhibition in Baltimore, Maryland, September 29–30, 2015. Stop by booth #303 to meet Wind Program personnel and learn about the latest DOE-funded research. Visitors can also pick up a free flash drive containing the Wind Program’s most recent research reports. More

Two DOE Reports Analyze U.S. Wind Energy Growth

The U.S. Department of Energy recently released two reports that provide a detailed analysis of the wind energy industry, technology, and performance trends and costs: the 2014 Wind Technologies Market Report produced by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the 2014 Distributed Wind Market Report produced by Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. More

Boise State University Places First in DOE’s Collegiate Wind Competition 2015

Seven teams of students from universities across the nation participated in the Collegiate Wind Competition 2015 sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy Wind Program at the National Wind Technology Center (NWTC) at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in April. These teams had previously participated in the inaugural 2014 competition, held in Las Vegas, Nevada, and were asked to upgrade their 2014 turbines, which were tested in the NWTC’s wind tunnel. More

DOE Report Evaluates Potential for Wind Power in All 50 States

The U.S. Department of Energy recently published a report showing how the United States can unlock the vast potential for wind energy deployment in all 50 states with the development of next-generation wind turbine technologies. Enabling Wind Power Nationwide builds upon the recently released Wind Vision Report, which quantifies the economic, social, and environmental benefits of a robust wind energy future. More

CURRENT R&D

Sandia National Laboratories’ Structural Health Monitoring and Prognostics Management System Reduces Offshore Wind O&M Costs

One current obstacle to the utilization of offshore wind energy is that most projections put the operation and maintenance costs of offshore wind farms between 2 to 5 times the current average costs for land-based wind farms. A successful health monitoring system would be able to reduce or eliminate unplanned or unnecessary maintenance as well as decrease logistic lead times and optimize supply chain management through the use of prognostics. More

Offshore Wind Farm Model Development–Upcoming Release of the University of Minnesota’s Virtual Wind Simulator

Large-eddy simulation of wind farms with parameterization of wind turbines is emerging as a powerful tool for improving the performance and lowering the maintenance cost of existing wind farms and assessing potential sites for installation. As a result, Sandia National Laboratories is working with the University of Minnesota St. Anthony Falls Laboratory to document and prepare the university’s offshore version of the Virtual Wind Simulator code for release. More

Pika Energy Develops Innovative Manufacturing Process and Lowers Production Cost Under DOE Competitiveness Improvement Project

The U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory recently awarded Pika Energy of Westbrook, Maine, with a third round of funding under the DOE Competitiveness Improvement Project (CIP). The purpose of the CIP is to help U.S. manufacturers that produce distributed wind systems to lower the cost of energy from their turbines and increase their market competitiveness. By focusing on component and manufacturing process improvements and turbine testing, the cost-shared CIP awards help small and midsize wind turbine companies improve their system designs and earn certification that shows they have met performance and safety requirements. More

New Study Reveals Multiple Pathways to 30% Penetration of Wind and Solar

A new study published by NREL found that the U.S. Eastern Interconnection—one of the largest power systems in the world—can reliably support up to a 30% penetration of wind and solar power. Using high-performance computing capabilities and new methodologies, researchers at NREL conducted the Eastern Renewable Generation Integration Study and modeled hundreds of gigawatts of wind and solar on system operations to examine their impacts on other generation sources such as thermal plants. More

Argonne National Laboratory Develops New Model to Quantify the Impacts of Variable Energy Resources on Generation Expansion and System Reliability

The penetration level of variable energy resources, such as wind and solar, has been steadily increasing in many modern power systems, presenting new challenges to system operators. Researchers at Argonne National Laboratory have developed a model to help quantify these impacts and analyze different potential market design solutions to ensure long-term resource adequacy and system reliability. More

NREL, Clemson University Collaborate on Wind Energy Testing Facilities

In May, two of our nation’s most advanced wind research and test facilities joined forces to help the wind energy industry improve the performance of wind turbine drivetrains and better understand how the turbines can integrate effectively with the electrical grid. Through a cooperative research and development agreement, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and Clemson University will partner to share resources and capabilities in the operation and development of testing facilities. More

Statistics Show Bearing Problems Cause the Majority of Wind Turbine Gearbox Failures

In the past, the wind energy industry has been relatively conservative in terms of data sharing, which has inhibited the research community’s efforts to identify and mitigate the premature failures of wind turbine gearboxes. With support from the U.S. Department of Energy, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory started a gearbox reliability data collection effort under the Gearbox Reliability Collaborative to categorize top wind turbine gearbox failure modes, identify possible root causes, and direct future research and development activities to prevent these premature failures. More

Past Issues

See previous versions of the Wind Program Newsletter.

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