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

Wind Program

DOE Partnerships to Develop Wind Turbines for Low Wind Speeds

March 29, 2004

DOE intends to expand the use of wind power in the United States, and sees significant potential in areas with wind speeds that are too low to tap economically with today's wind turbines—areas with average annual wind speeds of about 13 miles per hour at a height of 10 meters (about 33 feet). To allow wind power projects in these areas, DOE is establishing 21 partnerships with public and private entities to develop low-wind-speed wind turbines. The program includes conceptual design studies and the development of both turbine components and complete wind turbines, and DOE expects the total investment in the partnerships to total $60 million over the next four years. DOE announced the partnerships on March 29th at the wind industry's Global Windpower 2004 Conference in Chicago. See the DOE press release.

The wind energy resources that DOE intends to capture through the new partnerships are rated as "good" wind energy resources, or "class 4" winds on a scale that runs up to class 7 for the windiest sites. Harvesting wind power from class 4 sites will open up much larger areas of the United States to wind power, including large expanses in the Midwest, Northwest, and Northeast. For more information, including links to detailed wind resource maps for most states, see the DOE's Wind Powering America Web Site.