Electricity is the center of the U.S. economy and American homes. To help meet the nation’s needs, eight small businesses will develop wind technology as a cost-effective, reliable, and compatible distributed energy resource under the 2021 round of the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Competitiveness Improvement Project (CIP).

Individuals, businesses, and communities can use distributed wind—or wind turbines that generate electricity close to where it will be consumed—to reduce electricity costs, provide back-up power and grid-support services, and complement solar energy.

“Distributed energy resources—including wind—will help decarbonize the energy sector and enable local communities to participate in the energy transition,” said Acting Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Kelly Speakes-Backman. “Our Competitiveness Improvement Project awards are advancing wind as a distributed energy resource to support the Biden Administration’s goal of reaching net-zero emissions by 2050.”

The 2021 CIP selectees are expected to share about $2.2 million in DOE funding and leverage about $1.3 million of industry cost share. They are:

  • Accelerate Wind Inc. (St. Louis, Missouri) will develop a modular 5-kilowatt (kW) horizontal axis wind turbine with integrated solar, which is designed to be deployed on the edges of commercial buildings. The project will take the concept from a preliminary design stage to a test-ready, preproduction prototype.
  • Bergey Windpower (Norman, Oklahoma) will implement several design and manufacturing changes to the Excel 15 wind turbine generator, lowering its cost by 26% and leading to an 8% reduction in total wind turbine manufacturing cost.
  • Intergrid LLC (Temple, New Hampshire) will develop and implement improved simulation and testing capabilities to allow faster and lower-cost certification of upgrades to the Intergrid IG-25, a 25-kW programmable inverter.
  • Pecos Wind Power (Somerville, Massachusetts) will develop the first full-scale prototype of an 85-kW wind turbine designed for low-wind-speed sites. Pecos will also install this turbine at the Renewable Concepts factory in Neodesha, Kansas, for initial prototype testing and evaluation.
  • Siva Powers America Inc. (Ransomville, New York) will develop new, lighter-weight 14.4-meter blades for its existing 250-kW turbine. This will extend the rotor diameter to 35 meters and boost energy production, reduce electricity costs, and increase access to lower wind-speed sites.
  • Sonsight Wind (Grayson, Georgia) will test a new 3.5-kW wind turbine prototype designed for residential, small commercial-scale, and remote hybrid energy system applications.
  • Windurance LLC (Coraopolis, Pennsylvania) will design, test, and obtain third-party certification of an advanced, programmable control system for wind turbines. The controller operates the turbine’s mechanical and electrical systems and is designed for 85-kW to over 150-kW wind turbine models.
  • XFlow Energy Company (Seattle, Washington) will conduct prototype testing of a 25-kW vertical axis wind turbine designed for isolated microgrids and remote communities. The project builds on previous CIP and DOE Small Business Innovation Research awards and will bring this new, low-cost turbine closer to commercial viability.

These projects, and those launched under prior CIP rounds, will deliver a range of certified, next-generation wind turbines that provide competitive electricity costs, grid-support capabilities, and compatibility with other distributed energy resources for hybrid systems.

“To combat climate change and protect our planet, we must make strategic moves to decarbonize our power sector and transition towards a clean energy economy,” said U.S. Representative Annie Kuster (NH-02). “Today’s announcement and significant investment in Integrid LLC further demonstrates that New Hampshire companies can lead the way in charting our clean energy future by bolstering advanced manufacturing and creating jobs in the Granite State. As a member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, I have long championed smart energy policies that can deliver 21st century solutions, and I’ll continue working across the aisle in Congress to support New Hampshire’s clean energy economy.” 

“I am thrilled that the XFlow Energy Company here in the Ninth District is receiving a Competitive Improvement Project award from the Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy,” said U.S. Representative Adam Smith (WA-09). “This funding will help XFlow advance their work manufacturing wind turbines for isolated microgrids and remote communities. Investments in innovative manufacturing for wind and solar are critical to help reduce the cost of renewable energy, ensure it is accessible to all communities, and grow jobs in the renewables sector here in the U.S.”

“I am very proud the Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy has selected Bergey Windpower of Norman, Oklahoma, to receive significant funding through the Competitive Improvement Project,” said U.S. Representative Tom Cole (OK-4). “By implementing several design and production changes to the Excel 15 wind turbine generator, manufacturing costs will be significantly reduced and safety and performance will be improved. Indeed, by supporting manufacturers of small and medium-sized wind turbines, these awards will be critical in developing and progressing renewable wind technology.

“With support from DOE’s Competitiveness Improvement Project, small wind turbine manufacturers have significantly reduced the costs of their products while improving their reliability through robust certification processes,” said Ian Baring-Gould, distributed wind program lead for the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, which manages CIP on behalf of DOE. “Consumers are using more electricity for things like air conditioners and transportation. By providing energy services alone or in combination with solar and storage, wind turbines can support expanding distributed energy markets and increase the nation’s ability to address local energy needs.”

Finalizing these selections will bring the total to 52 subcontracts to 25 companies since CIP began in 2012. The awards total $12.84 million in DOE funding and leverage an additional $6.67 million in private-sector investment.

For more information about CIP, visit NREL’s website or download the DOE factsheet