DOE Funding Expands Distributed Wind Opportunities

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Energy dot gov Office of Energy Efficiency and renewable energy

Wind Energy Technologies Office


December 10, 2019

NREL Awards Eight New Competitiveness Improvement Projects for Distributed Wind Funding

The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) National Renewable Energy Laboratory, with funding from the DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy’s (EERE’s) Wind Energy Technologies Office, works with small business to make distributed wind energy cost competitive, improve its interoperability with other distributed energy resources, and increase the number of small and mid-scale wind turbine designs certified to national testing standards through a periodic solicitation called the Competitiveness Improvement Project (CIP).

Building on previous successes, which include a 50% cost reduction for one wind turbine system and several small wind turbines certified under the program, EERE announced eight new CIP awards, with a strong focus on supporting the early assessment of new innovative designs through pre-prototype development support. Read the list of 2019 awardees.

Microgrids, Infrastructure Resilience, and Advanced Controls Launchpad: Factsheet Available

Funded by DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy’s Wind Energy Technologies Office, the Microgrids, Infrastructure Resilience, and Advanced Controls Launchpad (MIRACL) project is part of the distributed wind portfolio of investments aimed at enabling wind technology to be an affordable, accessible, and compatible distributed energy resource (DER). DERs are increasingly used by individuals, businesses, and communities to cost-effectively build resilient infrastructure and enhance the capabilities of local distribution grid operations.

This collaborative research project—which includes DOE’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Sandia National Laboratories, and Idaho National Laboratory—uses a high-speed data link to leverage nearly a billion dollars’ worth of research capabilities and DER infrastructure across the four laboratories. This enables research, development, and industry validation of DER components and hybrid energy systems across multiple scales and configurations in geographically diverse operating conditions.

A key component of the MIRACL project is collaboration, not only among DOE’s National Labs, but also with the electric utility, wind, microgrid, and DER industries to advance state-of-the-art technology. To learn more about MIRACL and opportunities for collaboration, read the factsheet.

Carbon Fiber Commercially Viable for Wind Blades: Report

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.

The analysis found commercial viability and system-level benefits for using carbon fiber composites to reduce the overall cost of wind energy and manufacture long, slender wind turbine blades. The project revealed a 25% blade mass reduction when using carbon fiber spar caps compared to fiberglass. While wind manufacturers have historically avoided using carbon fiber due to its higher cost, the new textile-based carbon fiber material used for spar caps in this study cost 40% less than commercial carbon fiber—potentially enabling the broader adoption of carbon fiber materials in wind turbine blade design with the potential to reduce system costs. Read the report.

SBIR Releases Topics for Wind Energy Stakeholders

We are pleased to provide you with the following updates from the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) program:

  • FY 2020 Phase I Release 2 Topics: The SBIR/STTR Topics were issued on Tuesday, November 12, 2019. The Topics document is accessible here. This year’s Topics include 3 wind energy topics, as well as a wind-related hydrogen and fuel cells topic.
  • FY 2020 Phase I Release 2 FOA: The Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) is scheduled for release on Monday, December 16, 2019. Once posted, the FOA document will be accessible here.
  • FY 2020 Phase I, Release 2 FOA Webinar: The FOA Webinar is scheduled to take place on Thursday, December 19, 2019. Registration information will be posted here.

Upcoming Events

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.

Small Business Innovation Program/Small Business Technology Transfer Program FY 2020 Phase I, Release 2 FOA Webinar

December 19, 2019

The FOA Webinar is scheduled to take place on Thursday, December 19, 2019. Registration information will be posted here. The webinar will cover:

  • Federal SBIR/STTR Programs
  • DOE SBIR/STTR Technology Areas
  • DOE SBIR/STTR Application and Award Process as it relates to the FY20 Phase I Release 2 FOA
  • Questions & Answers

In Case You Missed It

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 NREL.

DOE Announces New Grid Modernization Lab Call Projects

On Nov. 6, 2019, DOE announced the results of the 2019 Grid Modernization Lab Call with $80 million in funding (subject to appropriations) over three years, which 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.

Offshore Wind Resource Science Workshop Report

DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy recently published a report summarizing findings from a workshop titled, “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 workshop report.