DOE to Work with Turbine Manufacturers to Expand U.S. Wind Power

June 4, 2008

Photo of several large spherical metal parts with large circular cutouts in them lined up on the floor of a large manufacturing facility, with the view from inside of one of the spherical parts.

Wind turbine rotor parts await assembly at Clipper Windpower's manufacturing plant in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Enlarge this photo.
Credit: Clipper Windpower

DOE will work with six leading wind turbine manufacturers over the next 2 years with an eye toward achieving 20% wind power in the United States by 2030. DOE announced the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with GE Energy, Siemens Power Generation, Vestas Wind Systems, Clipper Windpower, Suzlon Energy, and Gamesa Corporation on June 2. Under the MOU, DOE and the six manufacturers will collaborate to gather and exchange information relating to five major areas: research and development related to turbine reliability and operability; siting strategies for wind power facilities; standards development for turbine certification and universal interconnection of wind turbines; manufacturing advances in design, process automation, and fabrication techniques; and workforce development. See the DOE press release, DOE's Wind and Hydropower Technologies Program Web site, and the recent report "20% Wind Energy by 2030: Increasing Wind Energy's Contribution to U.S. Electricity Supply" (PDF 3.95 MB). Download Adobe Reader.

In addition, DOE's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has announced a number of wind technology projects, including a new state-of-the-art wind turbine blade test facility to be built in Ingleside, Texas. The Texas-NREL Large Blade Research and Test Facility will be capable of testing blades as long as 70 meters, or 230 feet. It will be built and operated through a partnership among NREL, DOE, and a state consortium led by University of Houston, with the university owning and operating the facility's buildings, DOE funding up to $2 million in capital costs, and NREL providing technical and operational assistance. The blade test facility is estimated to cost between $12 million and $15 million and should be completed by 2010. Located on the Gulf Coast, the Texas facility will complement a similar facility that is being built on the coast of Massachusetts.

NREL has also recently signed agreements with Siemens Power Generation and First Wind, a wind power developer. Siemens is launching a new research and development facility in nearby Boulder, Colorado, and has agreed to locate and test a commercial-scale wind turbine at NREL's National Wind Technology Center (NWTC). First Wind (formerly called UPC Wind Partners, LLC) owns and operates the 30-megawatt Kaheawa Wind Farm in West Maui, Hawaii, and has agreed to let the NWTC establish a Remote Research Affiliate Partner Site at the facility. The Maui satellite of NWTC will collaborate with First Wind on studies to develop advanced wind energy technologies, including energy storage and integration of renewable electricity into Maui's electrical grid. See the press releases from NREL, Siemens, and First Wind.