To maximize future wind energy cost reductions, wind plants will require substantially larger turbine blades to increase energy production, capacity factors, and plant efficiencies—particularly at sites with low-to-moderate wind speeds. However, current U.S. transportation limitations, manufacturing and assembly methods, and materials all impart limitations into the design of land-based wind turbine blades.
Following up from a workshop on this topic held in March 2018, DOE's Wind Energy Technologies Office (WETO) is seeking public input regarding the key challenges associated with the manufacturing and deployment of larger next-generation blades for land-based wind turbines. This input will help WETO analyze the costs and benefits of various pathways to achieve larger wind turbine blades, which are currently constrained by transportation logistics on existing road and railway infrastructure. Potential pathways include onsite blade manufacturing or assembly, transportation and logistics innovations, and hybrid approaches. The Request for Information also seeks input to understand where R&D could have the most impact to enable supersized blades for the next generation of cost-competitive wind energy.