The biannual U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Wind Research and Development (R&D) Newsletter provides recent news about the DOE Wind Energy Technologies Office's R&D projects, news, accomplishments, and recent publications.
The U.S. wind energy industry continues its impressive run of growth over the last two decades. In late 2019, the U.S. Energy Information Administration reported that wind energy had become the number-one renewable electricity generation source in the country. This achievement, of course, may be attributed to the collective effort of many important players, including state and local officials, industry and investors, policy and regulatory officials, and other stakeholders.
New Reference Turbine Model Accelerates Development of Larger, Cost-Competitive Offshore Wind Systems
Multimegawatt reference turbine expands capabilities to assess technology for ever-larger and lower-cost designs
Improvements to wind turbine designs can range from incremental component enhancements to dramatic innovations that change entire systems. How can researchers collaborate with industry to more rapidly develop new, high-performance, cost-competitive turbines, or modify existing turbines, without compromising proprietary information? Reference wind turbines—open-access designs of complete wind turbine systems with supporting models for simulation and design tools—make it possible to evaluate the performance and cost of proposed modifications, relative to a well-known and understood reference point, before prototype development.
A new open-source reference wind turbine can be used to assess designs for offshore turbines up to 15 MW.
Robotic Systems Improve Blade Reliability
Sandia National Laboratories’ ARROW(e) system brings automated, high-tech wind blade inspections to the field
Wind turbine blades are the largest single-piece composite structures in the world, with some now exceeding the length of a football field. Ensuring the reliability of these skyscraper-sized structures over their lifetime is a difficult challenge—these blades can’t be sent to a hangar in the same way airplanes and helicopters can when it’s time for maintenance. Inspections are performed either with telephoto cameras from the ground or using aerial drones. These methods are reasonably good at finding visible damage but currently lack the ability to detect early, hidden damage.
However, recent innovations in robotics may allow for a pathway to introduce low-cost, high-tech inspections to the market: inspections that can detect deep, subsurface damage.
Which Bats Steer Clear of Wind Turbine Deterrents—and When?
Flight-path monitoring aims to determine the effectiveness of ultrasonic acoustic deterrents
Technologies that can reduce impacts to bats, birds, and other wildlife not only boost species conservation efforts, but also the efficiency and productivity of wind power projects. DOE supports this environmental win-win with research efforts developing technological innovations that can detect and deter wildlife from approaching wind turbine blades.
Researchers at DOE’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) are gaining new insights into one such solution—the use of ultrasonic acoustic deterrents (UADs)—as part of that larger effort.
An article in Science magazine invited the scientific community to address three grand challenges in the physical sciences that will drive the innovation needed for wind to continue to contribute to the electricity grid as a low-cost energy source. By investing in science, research, and technology development, and rallying the scientific communities around the physical, environmental, and developmental challenges, WETO hopes for wind to reach its full potential as an environmentally sustainable source of power in the United States.
DOE announced the selection of 13 projects to receive a total of $28 million to advance wind energy nationwide. While utility-scale, land-based wind energy in the United States has grown to 96 gigawatts, significant opportunities for cost reductions remain, especially in the areas of offshore wind, distributed wind, and tall wind.
The following is a curated listing of recent or high-profile publications from the Wind Energy Technologies Office and DOE National Laboratories. Visit the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy’s (EERE’s) Wind Technology Resource Center for research reports, publications, data sets, and online tools developed by National Laboratories and their facilities.
Atmosphere to Electrons (A2e)
- Atmosphere to Electrons Data Archive and Portal (fact sheet)
- Continued Results from a Field Campaign of Wake Steering Applied at a Commercial Wind Farm: Part 2
- Controls-Oriented Model for Secondary Effects of Wake Steering
- Improving Wind Energy Forecasting Through Numerical Weather Prediction Model Development
- Multi-Scale Simulation of Wind Farm Performance during a Frontal Passage
- On Bridging A Modeling Scale Gap: Mesoscale to Microscale Coupling for Wind Energy
- Validation of RU-WRF, the Custom Atmospheric Mesoscale Model of the Rutgers Center for Ocean Observing Leadership
- A Detailed Wind Turbine Blade Cost Model
- Benchmarking Anticipated Wind Project Lifetimes: Results from a Survey of U.S. Wind Industry Professionals
- Impact of Wind, Solar, and Other Factors on Wholesale Power Prices: An Historical Analysis—2008 through 2017
- Opportunities for and Challenges to Further Reductions in the “Specific Power” Rating of Wind Turbines Installed in the United States
- The Wind Energy Workforce in the United States: Training, Hiring, and Future Needs
- How Does Wind Project Performance Change with Age in the United States?
- 2018 Cost of Wind Energy Review
- 2018 Wind Technologies Market Report
- Competitiveness Improvement Project Informational Workshop (presentation)
- Defense & Disaster Deployable Turbine (fact sheet)
- Distributed Wind Competitiveness Improvement Project (fact sheet)
- Distributed Wind Resource Assessment Framework: Functional Requirements and Metrics for Performance and Reliability Modeling
- Distributed Wind Tools Assessing Performance (fact sheet)
- Market Opportunities for Deployable Wind Systems for Defense and Disaster Response
- Microgrids, Infrastructure Resilience, and Advanced Controls Launchpad (fact sheet)
- Small Wind Information (postcard)
- 2018 Distributed Wind Market Report
- Auditory performance in bald eagles and red-tailed hawks: a comparative study of hearing in diurnal raptors
- Texturizing Wind Turbine Towers to Reduce Bat Mortality
- ThermalTracker-3D: A thermal stereo vision system for quantifying bird and bat activity at offshore wind energy sites
- Understanding the Golden Eagle and Bald Eagle Sensory Worlds to Enhance Detection and Response to Wind Turbines
- WREN: Working Together To Resolve Environmental Effects of Wind Energy (fact sheet)
Grid Integration & Transmission
- A Review of Dynamic Thermal Line Rating Methods with Forecasting
- An Introduction to Grid Services: Concepts, Technical Requirements, and Provision from Wind
- Avangrid Renewables Tule Wind Farm Demonstration of Capability to Provide Essential Grid Services
- Cyber and Physical Anomaly Detection in Smart Grids
- IEEE 13 Bus Benchmark Model for Real-Time Cyber-Physical Control and Power Systems Studies
- Improving estimates of transmission capital costs for utility-scale wind and solar projects to inform renewable energy policy
- Motivations and options for deploying hybrid generator-plus-battery projects within the bulk power system
- Software Defined Cyber-Physical Testbed for Analysis of Automated Cyber Responses for Power System Security
- Using Computational Fluid Dynamics of Wind Simulations Coupled with Weather Data to Calculate Dynamic Line Ratings
- Cost of Floating Offshore Wind Energy Using New England Aqua Ventus Concrete Semisubmersible Technology
- IEA Wind TCP Task 37: Definition of the IEA 15-Megawatt Offshore Reference Wind Turbine
- National Offshore Wind Research and Development Consortium: Research and Development Roadmap
- Oregon Offshore Wind Site Feasibility and Cost Study
- The Potential Impact of Offshore Wind Energy on a Future Power System in the U.S. Northeast
- The Vineyard Wind Power Purchase Agreement: Insights for Estimating Costs of U.S. Offshore Wind Projects
- 2018 Offshore Wind Technologies Market Report
Resource Assessment & Characterization
- Lidar Buoy Loan Program (fact sheet)
- Mesoscale to Microscale Simulations over Complex Terrain with the Immersed Boundary Method in the Weather Research and Forecasting Model
- The Second Wind Forecast Improvement Project: Observational Field Campaign
- The Second Wind Forecast Improvement Project (WFIP2): General Overview
- The Unsteady Aerodynamics Module For FAST8
- The Verification and Validation Strategy Within the Second Wind Forecast Improvement Project (WFIP 2)
- Wind Energy Instrumentation Atlas
- Workshop on Research Needs for Offshore Wind Resource Characterization
WETO Program Publications
- Advancing the Growth of the U.S. Wind Industry: Federal Incentives, Funding, and Partnership Opportunities (fact sheet)
- Grand Challenges in the Science of Wind Energy
- National Offshore Wind Strategy
- Offshore Wind Initiatives at the U.S. Department of Energy
- U.S. Department of Energy Wind Energy Facilities Book
- Wind R&D Newsletter, October 2019
- Wind Vision
- Wind Vision Detailed Roadmap Actions: 2017 Update
- A continuously updated, geospatially rectified database of utility-scale wind turbines in the United States
- Attitudes of U.S. Wind Turbine Neighbors: Analysis of a Nationwide Survey
- Monitoring annoyance and stress effects of wind turbines on nearby residents: A comparison of U.S. and European samples
- Wind turbine audibility and noise annoyance in a national U.S. survey: Individual perception and influencing factors
- Wind Turbine Radar Interference Mitigation (fact sheet)
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