This 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, accomplishments, upcoming events, and recent publications.

Letter from the Wind Energy Technologies Office Acting Director

Thumbnail of Valerie Reed.

In my first letter to you as the Acting Director of the U.S. Department of Energy Wind Energy Technologies Office (WETO), I am simply in awe of the continued progress made by the wind industry as I reflect on the past year. Since I joined WETO last fall, I have witnessed a number of milestones for both our office and the wind industry broadly. Read more.


Current R&D

Groundbreaking Experiment Steers Wake Away from Downwind Turbine

A recently completed wake steering experiment at the Sandia National Laboratories Scaled Wind Farm Technology facility successfully demonstrated that the wake from an upwind turbine can be steered away from a downwind turbine by yawing the upwind turbine. These results will enable the wind industry to evaluate the potential for yaw-based wake steering to improve the performance of both existing and new wind power plants around the country—which could lead to higher, more predictable output from wind plants and lower operating costs, ultimately reducing the cost of wind energy overall. Read more.

Massive U.S. Wind Turbine Data Set Released for Public Use

A comprehensive, regularly updated data set of U.S. wind turbine locations and characteristics is now publicly available. The United States Wind Turbine Database currently contains nearly 60,000 turbines, constructed from the 1980s through 2018, in more than 1,700 wind power projects spanning 43 states plus Puerto Rico and Guam. The data set details turbines smaller than 30 meters, with capacities less than 70 kilowatts, to turbines towering 181 meters (593 feet), with capacities of 6 megawatts. The data cover not only land-based turbines, but also offshore installations. Read more.

Wind Project Neighbor Attitudes Mostly Positive, National Survey Reveals

A study led by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) provides unprecedented insight into the attitudes of Americans who live near U.S. wind turbines. The National Survey of Attitudes of Wind Power Project Neighbors study involved a collaboration among four universities, one consultancy, and two U.S. Department of Energy research laboratories—LBNL and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. The research was based on a 2015–2016 effort that collected data from 1,705 individuals in 24 states living within 5 miles of 250 large-scale U.S. wind power projects (although most individuals lived within just one-half mile of turbines). Read more.

Competitiveness Improvement Project Hits First Certification Milestone

Primus Wind Power, which received a turbine testing program award under the Wind Energy Technologies Office’s Competitiveness Improvement Project for distributed wind energy, achieved certification in February 2018 of its Primus Air40 wind turbine model. This certification represents just one of many successes achieved by project awardees. Read more.

DOE-Funded Wind Profilers Feed National Weather Forecasts

As the contribution of wind energy to overall U.S. electricity generation grows, so does the importance of accurate forecasts for wind power production. These forecasts help maintain stability in the electrical grid and keep power costs low. Read more.

On-Site Research To Determine Causes of Premature Drivetrain Gearbox Failure

Although wind energy costs have declined over the past two decades, premature drivetrain failure still can lead to higher-than-expected turbine operation and maintenance costs. To help identify the causes of premature failures and ultimately reduce the costs of wind energy, NREL’s Drivetrain Reliability Collaborative is investigating operational conditions most likely to cause drivetrain failures. Read more.

First-of-Its-Kind Report Benchmarks Costs for U.S. Small Wind Projects

A recent Pacific Northwest National Laboratory report, Benchmarking U.S. Small Wind Costs, is the first of its kind to benchmark costs for small wind projects installed in the United States. The report provides a starting point to help expand the U.S. distributed wind market by identifying potential opportunities to reduce costs and providing a benchmark to track cost-reduction progress. Read more.

Pooling Our Knowledge and Protecting Wildlife with Adaptive Management

Wind energy development projects continue to improve their practices through lessons learned and better understanding the outcome of management decisions, especially with wind and wildlife impacts. The process of adaptive management is of increasing interest worldwide. The practice is being considered for the wind industry to employ a learning-based management approach to reduce scientific uncertainty. Read more.

New Software Tool Boosts Utility Transmission Capacity

A wind power plant study initiated in 2010 by Idaho National Laboratory and the Wind Energy Technologies Office sought to explore how transmission lines, when cooled by the wind, are capable of handling more electricity. The research resulted in the development of a new software tool: General Line Ampacity State Solver (GLASS), which offers the ability to blend data from weather monitors and electric utility systems with weather analysis algorithms enhanced by computational fluid dynamics. Read more.

Guide to Wind Development Financing Designed To Increase Investment Pool

The numbers speak for themselves. Investment in U.S. wind energy has averaged nearly $13.6 billion annually since 2006, totaling more than $140 billion—demonstrating wind energy’s persistent appeal and its increasing role in the U.S. electricity generation portfolio. Read more.

Clemson University To Test Next-Generation Wind Drivetrain

Last fall, wind turbine manufacturer MHI Vestas announced a $35 million, 5-year investment with Clemson University to test its new 9.5-megawatt gearbox at Clemson’s SCE&G Energy Innovation Center in Charleston, South Carolina. The gearbox is for MHI Vestas’s new 9.5-megawatt offshore wind turbine, which has a rotor diameter of 164 meters (over 500 feet) and will be the most powerful wind turbine in the world. Read more.

Wind’s Near-Zero Cost of Generation Impacting Wholesale Electricity Markets

Wind generation can create exciting opportunities and interesting challenges when integrating large quantities of energy into the electric grid. Wind’s near-zero marginal cost of generation in particular is noticeably impacting competitive wholesale electricity markets in the United States and around the world. Read more.

DOE in the News

Science-Driven Innovation Could Cut Wind Energy Costs in Half

A groundbreaking new report, published by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, describes how the levelized cost of wind energy can be cut in half by 2030 or sooner. Read More.

New Technology Development and Innovation Project Selections Announced

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory recently selected two projects to receive U.S. Department of Energy-funded Technology Development and Innovation subcontracts, which will provide recipients access to facilities at the National Wind Technology Center at NREL and expertise in support of projects involving early-stage, wind-wildlife impact minimization technologies. Read more.

Offshore Wind Technical Challenges: Blog Series

Wind resources off U.S. coasts are ripe for further offshore wind development. As the United States looks to deploy more offshore wind infrastructure, the U.S. Department of Energy launched a blog series exploring several U.S.-specific technical challenges that will need to be overcome. Read about the reality of floating wind power, offshore wind turbine foundations, and hurricane resiliency.

Regional Resource Centers Achieve Success Across the Country

Spanning six U.S. regions, WETO’s Regional Resource Centers (RRCs) provide local leaders and communities with information to inform wind energy development in their regions. Recent RRC successes include the Four Corners Wind Resource Center, which supported wind energy opportunities in rural Utah and helped make the 60-MW Peak View Wind Project in Colorado possible, and the 2017 State of Wind Development in the United States by Region report, which was compiled by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory with input from the RRCs. Read about additional RRC successes in the Islanded Grid, Midwest, Northeast, Northwest, and Southeast.

Past Issues

See previous versions of the Wind Energy Technologies Office R&D Newsletter.

Upcoming Events

2018 Alaska Regional Energy Workshops – Kodiak

May 15–16, 2018
Kodiak, Alaska

New England Energy Conference and Exposition

June 4–5, 2018
Falmouth, Massachusetts

U.S. Offshore Wind Conference & Exhibition

June 7–8, 2018
Boston, Massachusetts

American Meteorological Society 23rd Symposium on Boundary Layers and Turbulence

June 11–15, 2018
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

ESIG 2018 Forecasting Workshop

June 19–21, 2018
Saint Paul, Minnesota

Wind-Wildlife Technology Development and Innovation Open House
June 20–21, 2018
Boulder, Colorado

AWEA Regional Wind Energy Conference 2018 – Northeast
June 26–27, 2018
Portland, Maine

2018 REcharge Academy
July 23–27, 2018
Harrisonburg, Virginia

IEEE Power & Energy Society General Meeting

August 5–9, 2018
Portland, Oregon

AWEA Wind Resource & Project Energy Assessment Conference 2018
September 11–12, 2018
Austin, Texas

Offshore Wind Executive Summit

September 13–14, 2018
Houston, Texas

AWEA Wind Energy Finance & Investment Conference – East
October 1–2, 2018
New York, New York

ESIG 2018 Fall Technical Workshop

October 1–3, 2018
Denver, Colorado

AWEA Wind Energy Finance & Investment Conference – West
October 5, 2018
San Francisco, California

The Composites and Advanced Materials Expo

October 15–18, 2018
Dallas, Texas

AWEA Offshore WINDPOWER 2018 Conference

October 16–17, 2018
Washington, D.C.

AWEA Wind Energy Fall Symposium 2018

November 13–15, 2018
Colorado Springs, Colorado

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