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This is an excerpt from the Fourth Quarter 2011 edition of the Wind Program R&D Newsletter.

In September, the Department of Energy (DOE) National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, Colorado, broke ground for a new 5-MW dynamometer test facility. When complete, the new facility will more than double the wind turbine drivetrain testing capacity (in terms of rated power) at the lab's National Wind Technology Center located just south of Boulder, Colorado. 

Ground breaking ceremony for the 5-MW Dynamometer Upgrade held at the NWTC on September 16, 2011.

The upgraded dynamometer will be able to test the largest wind turbine drivetrains used in land-based markets. Its capability to simulate wind loads in six degrees-of-freedom will provide the most complete simulation of wind turbine operating conditions available in North America.  In addition, the new facility will have the ability to simulate the grid connection to test low-voltage ride-through capability and response to faults and other abnormal grid conditions.  This upgrade is a $9.95 million American Recovery and Reinvestment Act project, which has been underway since Fiscal Year 2009. Construction and commissioning of the facility will be completed in June of 2012.

DOE's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), located in Golden, Colorado, provides industry with the technical support it needs to develop advanced wind energy systems. NREL's research capabilities include design review and analysis; software development, modeling, and analysis; systems and controls analysis; turbine reliability and performance enhancement; certification and standards; utility integration assessment; wind resource assessment and mapping; technology market and economic assessment; workforce development; and outreach and education.