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Energy Department and Federal Partners Announce up to $14.5 Million for Offshore Wind Environmental Research

On January 15, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced up to $14.5 million for environmental research to support U.S. offshore wind development. This Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) will support regionally-focused, coordinated research efforts to increase understanding of the environmental impacts of offshore wind, as well as projects that advance and validate tools to monitor and minimize impacts. This FOA was released in conjunction with the National Oceanographic Partnership Program, and in coordination with partnering agencies, including the Interior Department’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Marine Fisheries Service, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

WETO Invites U.S. Manufacturers to Innovate Distributed Wind Technologies

To help small U.S. businesses develop new and innovative distributed wind technology, DOE’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) issued a request for proposals for the DOE Competitiveness Improvement Project (CIP). The CIP calls on small U.S. manufacturers to help make wind energy cost competitive and compatible with other distributed energy technologies by developing new distributed wind concepts and transforming existing designs.

Managed by NREL on behalf of DOE’s Wind Energy Technologies Office (WETO), the CIP awards cost-shared subcontracts and technical support to manufacturers of small and medium-sized wind turbines. Since 2012, NREL has awarded 44 subcontracts to 23 companies under the CIP, totaling $10.62 million of DOE funding and leveraging $5.41 in additional private-sector investment.

Download the CIP fact sheet to learn more about the project.

DOE Announces Additional Funding for High-Efficiency Lightweight Generator Demonstration

DOE’s Wind Energy Technologies Office has announced the selection of General Electric (GE) Research to receive $20.3 million in follow-on funding from DOE to build and test a prototype of their high-efficiency ultra-light low temperature superconducting generator (SCG) on a wind turbine.

GE’s innovative SCG design leverages investments from the magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) industry, eliminates the need for foreign-sourced rare earth materials, and reduces generator mass as compared to current technologies. Lightweight generators are important for tall wind and offshore wind applications because the size and weight of the generator impact the weight and cost of the wind turbine tower and foundation, as well as the specialized equipment needed to transport and install the large components. These innovations are expected to contribute to significant cost-reductions in the pursuit of larger and more powerful wind turbines and economies of scale.

In the next phase of the project, GE will de-risk and finalize their SCG design as well as develop a manufacturing and assembly plan for the prototype. Following an engineering review of the detailed design, GE will test the SCG in a special-purpose dynamometer facility, install the prototype SCG in a wind turbine nacelle, and perform up-tower testing of the SCG.

This is follow-on funding for a project that was originally announced in May 2019.

CWC Alum’s Industry Connections Open Door to Career in Wind Energy

The 2020 U.S. Department of Energy Collegiate Wind Competition’s (CWC’s) shift to a virtual format last spring posed new challenges to the 12 competition teams, but the James Madison University (JMU) CWC Team, who won the 2020 Project Development Contest, had one big advantage. Senior Jamie Mears, Siting Manager of JMU’s Project Development Contest subteam, had two previous competitions under her belt. Mears’s past CWC experience not only made her a leader on JMU’s 2020 team; it helped her land her current job as a project developer at Ørsted Onshore.

In Case You Missed It

Winding Up 2020 with the Year’s Top Wind Energy R&D Achievements

We’d like to share some of WETO's key 2020 accomplishments. During the year, we supported innovative technologies, groundbreaking research, and real-world experience for the next-generation wind energy workforce. From grid integration and environmental research to advanced manufacturing materials and software tools, WETO pursued opportunities to enable low-cost wind energy, address market barriers, and manage system integration. Looking forward, WETO will build off these accomplishments and continue to provide global leadership in wind energy science research, development, and validation activities across all U.S. wind sectors—including land-based utility-scale wind, offshore wind, and distributed wind. 

Breeze through a year’s worth of progress and see how WETO’s efforts helped elevate U.S. wind energy to new heights.

Multi-Year Program Plan for Wind Energy Research Released

DOE’s Wind Energy Technologies Office has published its Multi-Year Program Plan, which outlines the Office’s research priorities and plans through the year 2025. With the objectives of reducing the cost of wind energy, enabling the integration of substantial amounts of wind energy into the evolving national energy system, and creating siting and environmental solutions to reduce environmental impacts, the Plan provides insight into DOE’s wind energy research priorities, and will guide planning and execution of future R&D activities. It is organized in six sections: offshore wind, land-based wind, distributed wind, systems integration, modeling and analysis, and crosscutting initiatives.

Request for Information on Offshore Wind Transmission System Integration Research Needs

WETO is seeking information from the public on research needs for integration of large-scale offshore wind energy generation into the transmission grid. In addition to input on overall research priorities, topics of interest include technical means to enhance transmission utilization and mitigate congestion; updates to system integration studies and analyses in view of anticipated offshore wind development; and priorities for improvements to data, models, and analytical tools. Responses are due Jan. 24, 2021.

EERE is Hiring!

Are you an engineer or scientist interested in working for DOE's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy? EERE is searching for enthusiastic, driven and committed professionals to fill our vacant positions.
 
DOE has Direct Hire Authority for General Engineers that allows EERE to hire more quickly than through the traditional government hiring process. EERE’s Wind Energy Technologies Office is seeking a General Engineer with experience in power electronics/power systems engineering. If you’re interested in one of these positions, please email EEREhiring@ee.doe.gov and include your name, the best way you can be reached, and the position and EERE office that interests you. Then attach your resume. PLEASE NOTE: Do not include personal information in your resume. We do NOT want you to include your social security number, photos of you, information about your age or gender, or any government-sensitive information. If EERE is interested after reviewing your resume, the DOE Human Capital office will contact you to request a transcript demonstrating that your educational background meets the basic eligibility requirements of the position in question