U.S. Department of Energy - Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy
DOE Awards $4 Million to Two Wind Turbine Blade Test Facilities
June 25, 2007
DOE announced on June 25th that it will invest up to $4 million to
develop large-scale wind blade test facilities in both Boston,
Massachusetts, and Ingleside, Texas, near Corpus Christi. The
Commonwealth of Massachusetts Partnership and the Lone Star Wind
Alliance will each receive up to $2 million in test equipment to
develop the facilities. The two consortia will negotiate cooperative
research and develop agreements with DOE's National Renewable Energy
Laboratory (NREL) to design, build, and operate the new facilities,
which are expected to be operational in 2009. The ultimate goal of the
testing facilities is to test blades up to 330 feet long.
Although NREL's test facility for wind turbine blades, shown here, will remain in operation, the two new test facilities will be able to handle longer wind turbine blades.
Credit: Warren Gretz
Blade testing is required to meet wind turbine design standards,
reduce machine cost, and reduce the technical and financial risk of
deploying mass-produced wind turbine models. Rapid growth in wind
turbine size over the past two decades has outgrown the existing
capabilities of NREL's National Wind Technology Center, which operates
the only blade test facility in North America capable of performing
full-scale testing of megawatt-scale wind turbine blades. According to
NREL, a key factor in choosing the new sites was their access to
waterways: the Boston site is on the Boston Harbor, while the
Ingleside site has access to the Gulf of Mexico.
The total investment for each facility will total about $20 million.
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts Partnership has pledged $13 million
in grants and loans for construction and startup costs, and has
established reserve funding of $5 million for future blade design
research and testing. The Lone Star Wind Alliance has pledged
approximately $18 million from state and private sources for initial
capital and startup costs. See the press releases from