Offshore WINDPOWER 2021, convening October 13–15, provides a forum for wind energy stakeholders from government, industry, and academia to learn about and hear from a global community of top developers and experts in offshore wind. This year’s conference comes at a time when there is much to be excited about in wind energy in all its forms—offshore, land-based, and distributed. With strong support from leaders across the country, wind energy is on the cusp of a major expansion.

The offshore wind energy industry is growing rapidly—a trajectory supported by the Biden administration’s 30-gigawatt (GW)-by-2030 national offshore wind deployment goal. The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) recently published “Offshore Wind Market Report: 2021 Edition” states that last year the U.S. offshore wind energy pipeline grew 24%—from 28,521 megawatts (MW) in 2019 to 35,324 MW in 2020. Permitting processes are being streamlined and show progress.

The “Land-Based Wind Market Report: 2021 Edition” and “Distributed Wind Market Report: 2021 Edition,” also published in August, provide snapshots of the land-based utility-scale and distributed wind energy industries through the end of 2020. Be sure to check out all three reports, which compile data from public, confidential, and proprietary sources and then analyze 2020 trends in wind technology, cost, and performance.

Wind Energy Research Today

This issue of our newsletter provides information about wind energy research and development (R&D) projects that are currently underway or recently completed by our national laboratories and industry partners. You’ll learn about several interesting projects, including:

  • The National Offshore Wind Research & Development Consortium—Established by DOE in 2018, this nationally focused, nonprofit organization brings together many voices and technical resources to address research priorities for offshore wind energy. The article in this newsletter looks at version 3.0 of the consortium’s technical guidance road map and provides an overall update of consortium activities.
  • The impact of wind turbine and plant upsizing on the levelized cost of energy (LCOE)—Larger wind turbines and wind power plants could reduce costs by 23%, according to recent research funded by DOE’s Wind Energy Technologies Office (WETO). This discovery could be a game changer, particularly for the offshore wind industry.
  • Wind energy environmental and siting challenges—This newsletter features two articles about WETO’s continued efforts to solve one of our top priorities. You’ll want to read about a new project that’s gathering extensive information about potential environmental effects of offshore wind power plant development. Similarly, ThermalTracker-3D has boarded one of two research buoys off the California coast to assess potential offshore wind energy development risks to birds and bats.
  • The benefits of distributed wind on grid resiliency—Resiliency is the measure of a power system’s ability to sustain itself during events such as extreme cold in Alaska or a hurricane in Texas. WETO funding supports a multilaboratory effort to define, demonstrate, and measure distributed wind’s resiliency benefits. You might be surprised by the findings.

In Other Grid News

DOE released the North American Renewable Integration Study, which discusses the possibility of an interregional transmission system to support a future, low-carbon North American grid. This research, which was funded by WETO along with DOE’s Solar Energy Technologies Office and Water Power Technologies Office and authored by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), highlights opportunities for integrating large amounts of wind, solar, and hydropower into the continental grid system.

And the Winner Is…

The Pennsylvania State University claimed first place in DOE’s 2021 Collegiate Wind Competition (CWC). I want to congratulate all 13 teams for their participation, creativity, and flexibility, and look forward to cheering on the 2022 CWC competitors.

In the meantime, we at WETO are excited to join all of you in further advancing wind energy as a viable, meaningful renewable energy solution for our country.


Robert C. Marlay, Ph.D., P.E.
Director, Wind Energy Technologies Office

Fall 2021 R&D Newsletter

Explore previous editions of the Wind R&D Newsletter or browse articles by topic: