U.S. Department of Energy - Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy

Wind Program

Partnership Opportunity for Advanced Wind Turbine Blade Test Facility Progresses

March 9, 2007

DOE's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) announced today that applications from partnerships in Massachusetts and Texas—to design, construct, and operate an advanced wind turbine blade test facility—will move on to a final competitive round. The finalist will be awarded a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) with NREL in mid-2007.

Under the CRADA, DOE/NREL will provide $2 million in capital equipment to the blade test facility in addition to technical assistance. The estimated capital cost of the facility is $9 million to $12 million. Six applications were received from partnerships in Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, Ohio, Texas, and Virginia for the CRADA opportunity that was announced May 2006. The applications were scored by a technical panel comprised of DOE National Laboratory experts in conjunction with input from DOE Wind Program experts and wind industry representatives.

Criteria used for selection included:

  • The overall likelihood that the business plan would expeditiously result in a blade test facility as determined by factors such as the operating model, applicant qualifications, accreditation plans, letters of commitment, facility expansion opportunities, and the amount of non-DOE resources and funds to develop the blade test facility
  • The degree to which the proposed facility provided equitable access rights and intellectual property protection to wind industry members outside the partnership.

Criteria and procedures for the next round of competition are being finalized with input from technical and managerial staff, technology transfer staff, DOE, and industry stakeholders. Each applicant will be required to finalize proposal details such as site selection, financial commitments, and business and operating models.