Science Publishes Wind Energy Grand Challenges; DOE Announces New Grid Projects

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Energy dot gov Office of Energy Efficiency and renewable energy

Wind Energy Technologies Office


November 14, 2019

Three Wind Energy Challenges Published in Science

Wind energy researchers from the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) National Laboratories invite the scientific community to address three challenges that will drive the innovation needed for wind to become one of the world’s primary sources of low-cost electricity. Their work was recently published in Science and summarized in a press release by DOE’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL).

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DOE Announces New Grid Modernization Lab Call Projects

On November 6, 2019, DOE announced the results of the 2019 Grid Modernization Lab Call with funding of approximately $80 million (subject to appropriations) over three years. This funding aims to strengthen, transform, and improve the resilience of energy infrastructure to ensure the nation’s access to reliable and secure sources of energy now and in the future. The 2019 Grid Modernization Lab Call is the latest solicitation released over the past four years by the Grid Modernization Initiative, a crosscutting effort that focuses public and private partnerships to develop a portfolio of new tools and technologies that measure, analyze, predict, protect, and control the grid of the future. The DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy’s Wind Energy Technologies Office is participating in the Department-wide Grid Modernization Lab Call and has found alignment and interest in the areas of institutional support and analysis, cyber-physical security, and generation. See the list of projects.

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Putting Last-Minute Polish on 2021 CWC Applications

The 2021 Collegiate Wind Competition (CWC) request for proposals was released on September 9, 2019, the deadline for submissions is December 9, 2019. Teams are now putting the finishing touches on their applications.

In these final weeks before the deadline, teams will have a little extra holiday time to ensure they stand out in the field of applicants. Here are a few ideas for prospective CWC competitors to propel their teams into the 2021 competition.

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Sandia Patents Blade Design that Reduces Wakes Effects

DOE’s Sandia National Laboratories (SNL) has developed a wind turbine blade design that would allow turbines to be installed closer to one another, due to a faster dissipating wake. The idea originated during the National Rotor Testbed project, which sought to design new wind turbine blades with a focus on wake research at the DOE/SNL Scaled Wind Farm Technology facility in Texas. The patented innovation changes how much the air slows down as it passes through the wind turbine rotor. The result of this blade design is a wake that disappears more quickly, which allows wind turbines to be spaced closer together without sacrificing efficiency—lowering costs by decreasing the amount of electrical lines and roads needed to connect them.

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Modeling Modernity: Key Revisions to the IEEE Reliability Test System Proposed

A DOE Grid Modernization Consortium (GMLC) project has published updates to the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Reliability Test System to incorporate elements of the modern grid. The Reliability Test System was created for researchers to model and explore current and future scenarios that power system operators may encounter in a real-life power system. The proposed update, funded by DOE’s Grid Modernization Initiative, features modernized sources of power generation like wind, solar, and natural gas combined cycle—as well as temporal and geographic variability—providing a more complete and representative set of generation technologies and information. This work is part of the GMLC Multi-Scale Production Cost Modeling project

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Offshore Wind Resource Science Workshop Report

DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy recently published a report summarizing findings from a workshop on Research Needs for Offshore Wind Resource Characterization. The workshop brought together representatives from the offshore wind industry and marine environmental research community to share views on meteorological and oceanographic information needed to successfully develop offshore wind projects in the United States. Participants noted several significant gaps in the current capability to observe and characterize the atmosphere and ocean offshore, which provides an opportunity to develop new instrumentation and refine computational models.

Read the report

Upcoming Events

Composites World 2019 Carbon Fiber Conference

November 19–21, 2019
Knoxville, Tennessee

Composites World’s 2019 Carbon Fiber Conference provides a comprehensive forum to discuss new developments for carbon fibers in emerging industrial markets, such as wind energy, marine, and construction, as well as in traditional markets, such as aerospace and sporting goods. Discussions will focus on methods to streamline manufacturing costs in both industrial and aerospace applications and the outlook for consumption in markets with significant potential for growth.

DOE’s Sandia National Laboratories, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and Montana State University recently completed a two-year WETO-funded study that demonstrates the commercial viability of cost-competitive carbon fiber composites selected for use in wind turbine blades. Final test results and project progress will be presented at a Pre-Conference Seminar, Tuesday, November 19, 2019. (registration required). See our event listing for more information about this project and session.

Competitiveness Improvement Project Workshop & Webinar

December 17, 2019
Boulder, Colorado

DOE and NREL support the Competitiveness Improvement Project (CIP), which aims to help manufacturers of small and mid-size wind turbines improve their turbine design and manufacturing processes while reducing costs and improving efficiency, as well as work toward certification.

For those interested in the CIP, NREL will host a workshop and webinar on Tuesday, December 17, 2019 from 9:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. The workshop will review topics common to previous CIP solicitations, including merit criteria, design evaluation requirements, and testing and certification standards. The workshop will allow attendees to share the technical challenges and opportunities they are considering and meet with other members of the distributed wind community. Space to attend in person is limited and will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis. Register here.

In Case You Missed It

DOE Announces Funding for Projects Totaling $28 Million

On October 22, the U.S. Department of Energy announced the selection of 13 projects to receive a total of $28 million in DOE funding to advance wind energy nationwide. The selected projects span the technology development spectrum—including testing, demonstration, integration, and technical assistance—and cover all three wind energy sectors: distributed, offshore, and land-based utility-scale wind. Read the DOE press release.

Wind R&D Newsletter—Offshore Wind Innovation and Growing Wind Energy Potential

If you missed the Fall 2019 edition of the Wind Research and Development (R&D) Newsletter, check it out! This issue details why bigger equals better when it comes to supersized turbine blades, new solutions provided by floating spider-shaped offshore wind platforms, and breakthrough wind visualization tools.

Subscribe to learn more about DOE Wind Energy Technologies Office R&D projects, news, accomplishments, and recent publications.

Collegiate Wind Competition 2021 Webinar Recording Available

NREL is accepting proposals from teams of students interested in competing in DOE’s Collegiate Wind Competition in spring 2021. The competition enables interdisciplinary student teams to learn valuable real-world skills while designing, building, and testing a model wind turbine and planning and financially analyzing a wind plant. Learn more about the competition, application requirements, and tips for putting together a winning proposal through the recorded webinar.