The U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Wind Energy Technologies Office (WETO) has made some major announcements. Eric Lantz has been named the new director of WETO. Lantz will oversee WETO’s activities, which include conducting foundational research and development, conducting annual deep dives into the state of the wind energy industry, organizing competitions and prizes to address critical wind energy challenges, and facilitating the acceleration of wind energy deployment across the country.
Before joining the Energy Department, Eric led a team of analysts and engineers at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. His team characterized the potential role of wind power within the electric sector and examined the impact of wind innovations on future wind power costs and value. Eric has extensive knowledge and experience in the field of wind energy modeling and analysis and has made significant contributions to over 70 wind energy publications during his time in the industry.
"Wind power has immense potential for growth, spanning across land-based, distributed, and offshore wind energy applications. To enhance the affordability of clean energy for consumers and its seamless integration into the grid, ongoing research and development are crucial and we must continue to invest to seamlessly integrate wind power facilities into the ecological and social fabric of the communities they serve,” said Eric Lantz. “The opportunities are plentiful, and I am eager to collaborate with the DOE team to address these challenges.”
In addition to welcoming Eric, we saw major milestones in two DOE prize competitions. The FLoating Offshore Wind ReadINess (FLOWIN) Prize is a $6.9-million initiative dedicated to advancing the development of floating offshore wind energy platforms. During the first phase of the prize, nine projects showed promise and are diligently refining their proposals to streamline cost-effective mass production and assembly of these platforms. This winter, these innovators will present their advancements to a panel of experts, who will select up to five exceptional projects to receive $450,000 in cash plus a $100,000 technical services voucher to use during the final phase of the competition.
In July, we launched the $5.1-million Wind Turbine Materials Recycling Prize to help the United States develop a cost-effective and sustainable recycling industry for two critical categories of wind turbine materials: fiber-reinforced composites and rare earth elements. Over the next few months, we will announce the selection of up to 20 teams, each of which will receive $75,000 and an invitation to participate in the second phase of the competition.
Meanwhile, DOE released three annual market reports that provide important details on the state of the wind industry and its growth. This year’s Offshore Wind Market Report found that the potential generating capacity of offshore wind energy projects in the U.S. development and operational pipeline grew 15% since last year to 52,687 megawatts. The Land-Based Wind Market Report detailed that 8,511 MW of new utility-scale land-based wind generation capacity were added in 2022—the equivalent of powering 2.5 million American homes. And the Distributed Wind Market Report identified that $84 million was invested in new U.S. distributed wind projects in 2022—a $43 million increase from the previous year.
In addition to reports and prizes, WETO continues to support vital research and development (R&D) in offshore, land-based, and distributed wind energy. This edition of the Wind R&D Newsletter provides information about wind energy research from our partners. You'll read about:
- A new tool that will improve wind forecasting, helping utilities to balance power generation and potentially save millions.
- Real-time data collection methods measuring bird and bat interactions with wind turbines.
- Perceptions of equity and fairness among communities living near land-based wind energy installations.
- An award-winning open-source research and modeling assessment tool that allows users to explore regional and statewide renewable energy supply possibilities and how to connect those energy sources to the grid.
- The use of rotating lasers to improve the accuracy of wind simulation tools in the wind energy industry.
- Educational and environmental resources for communities and wind energy stakeholders interested in offshore wind energy.
- Brandon Ennis, a Sandia National Laboratories researcher who loves the approachability of wind energy as it continues to play a significant role in the nation's renewable energy portfolio.
Deputy Director, Wind Energy Technologies Office
Fall 2023 R&D Newsletter
Subscribe to the WETO e-newsletter to stay informed on the latest news, events, publications, and updates.