The U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) recently announced new wind projects that include: a new wind turbine blade test facility to be constructed in Texas; a partnership between NREL, DOE, and a state consortium led by University of Houston; a just-signed agreement with Siemens Power Generation to locate and test a commercial-scale wind turbine at NREL's National Wind Technology Center; and, a new Siemens research and development facility in Boulder, Colo., which will work closely with NREL on advanced wind power technologies.
"The projects demonstrate the shared commitment of the federal government and the private sector to achieve 20% wind energy by 2030," DOE Assistant Secretary Alexander Karsner said. "To dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions and enhance our energy security, clean power generation at the gigawatt-scale will be necessary to expand the domestic wind manufacturing base and streamline the permitting process."
"The U.S. wind industry grew by an astounding 45% in 2007," said NREL Director Dan Arvizu. "These projects demonstrate a commitment to the crucial technology R&D -- and the public-private partnerships -- that will be necessary to ensure the wind power industry's continued momentum. "
At the Texas-NREL Large Blade Research and Test Facility on the Gulf Coast at Ingleside, Tex., NREL will provide technical and operational assistance, and DOE will fund up to $2 million in capital costs, for a state-of-the-art facility capable of testing blades up to at least 70 meters, or 230 feet, in length.
In the partnership with Siemens Power Generation, a 2.3 megawatt, SWT-2.3-101 commercial wind turbine will be erected at NREL's 305-acre National Wind Technology Center, where NREL and Siemens researchers will conduct a full array of tests to evaluate existing systems and develop new ones for next-generation technologies. The work, which will be conducted under a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) between NREL and Siemens, will encompass power quality, noise emissions, rotor aerodynamics, load factors during normal operation and under severe operating conditions -- all with a goal of improving the overall performance of new turbines.