Twelve Teams Prepare for First-Ever Virtual Collegiate Wind Competition

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Energy dot gov Office of Energy Efficiency and renewable energy

Wind Energy Technologies Office


April 30, 2020

2020 Collegiate Wind Competition Goes Virtual

This May and June, teams of talented students from across the United States will provide a virtual showcase of technological adaptability and wind energy wizardry at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) 2020 Collegiate Wind Competition (CWC).

The 2020 Collegiate Wind Competition originally planned as part of the American Wind Energy Association CLEANPOWER conference in Denver, Colorado, will be held via webinar. Learn more about what this change means for the CWC.

During this event, the 12 participating teams will showcase the deliverables they created for the competition. Get to know the teams and these young innovators and learn how they’re preparing for the 2020 competition.

New Information Available on Projects Funded by the Wind Energy Technologies Office

DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy’s Wind Energy Technologies Office (WETO) recently updated several web-based resources that offer information about our current and past wind energy research and development (R&D).

  • The WETO Renewable Systems Integration webpage describes the office’s current and recently completed research to enhance grid operations and ensure system reliability with increasing amounts of wind power.
  • The Wind Technology Resource Center is a comprehensive database of DOE-funded wind energy research publications, datasets, and tools. Search or browse over 3,000 publications by location, topic (e.g., controls and reliability, design tools, environmental impacts, grid integration, market analysis, resource characterization, and wind plant modeling and simulation), and technology/application (e.g., distributed, offshore, and components).
  • The Wind R&D Projects Map displays wind research, development, testing, and demonstration projects funded by WETO across the country. Search or refine the view using filters for research area (e.g., offshore, grid, or workforce development), award type, and recipient organization type (e.g., industry, laboratory, or nonprofit). 
  • For a deeper dive on specific R&D projects funded by WETO in the past few years, see the 2019 Peer Review Report and Presentations.

Last Chance to Apply for Distributed Wind Competitiveness Improvement Project Funding

DOE’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has extended the deadline for its Competitiveness Improvement Project (CIP) Request for Proposals (RFP) to May 5. WETO supports CIP in alignment with the office’s goals to make wind energy cost competitive with other distributed energy resources, improve interoperability with other distributed energy resources, and increase the number of wind turbine designs certified to national testing standards.

The competitive process awards cost-shared subcontracts and technical support to manufacturers of small- and medium-sized wind turbines to:

  • Innovate optimized designs for increased energy production and grid support.
  • Conduct turbine and component testing to national standards to verify performance and safety.
  • Develop advanced manufacturing processes to reduce hardware costs.

Read more on the RFP and how the CIP supports small businesses in multiple phases of the product development cycle.

Events and Webinars

DOE Wind Energy Technologies Office Program Update and Research Priorities

Tuesday, May 5, 2020, 1 p.m.–2 p.m. Eastern Time

Please join AWEA and WETO for an informational webinar highlighting key U.S. government investments and partnerships with the wind industry in driving wind energy research and innovation.

The decades-long partnership between DOE, its National Laboratories, and the wind industry underlies many of the technical advancements in scale, efficiency, reduced costs, and public acceptance that have led to the dramatic expansion of wind energy in the United States. This growth has spurred economic and environmental benefits across all 50 states.

Come see what DOE has planned for its future research programs in offshore, land-based, and distributed wind; in atmospheric, environmental and siting research; and in the integration of increasing amounts of wind power on the grid. This webinar is free of charge, but registration is required.

Grand Challenges in the Science of Wind Energy Webinar

Wednesday, May 13, 2020, 1 p.m.–2:30 p.m. Eastern Time

Join an international panel of wind energy science and technology leaders for a webinar on the challenges, opportunities, and interdisciplinary collaboration necessary to drive the innovation needed for continued wind energy expansion. Modern wind turbines represent a tightly optimized confluence of materials science and aerodynamic engineering. The growing scale and deployment of clean energy expansion will, however, push wind technology into areas of both scientific and engineering uncertainty. A group of researchers and scientists from around the world documented the grand challenges in wind energy research, highlighting the need to better understand atmospheric conditions where taller turbines will operate, the materials and manufacturing constraints associated with the scale-up, and the systems approach needed for plant optimization and grid integration. Register for the webinar.

Offshore Wind Turbine Radar Interference Mitigation Webinar Series

2nd Webinar: Monday, May 18, 2020, 11 a.m.–1 p.m. Eastern Time

On April 20, 2020, WETO presented the first in a series of webinars to discuss offshore wind turbine radar interference mitigation strategies and research needs for offshore wind development that may impact sensitive radar systems. The webinar was hosted by the Wind Turbine Radar Interference Mitigation (WTRIM) Working Group—a consortium of federal agencies comprising DOE, the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD), the Federal Aviation Administration, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The webinar series is intended to build relationships between key industry stakeholders and agencies around offshore wind-radar issues, share government and industry perspectives on potential impacts of offshore wind on radar missions, and gain a better understanding of the future direction of the offshore wind market.

On the first webinar, DOE and DOD provided an introduction to the WTRIM Working Group, and offshore wind developer Ørsted shared their experiences with offshore wind-radar interference issues in the United Kingdom and European Union. View the first webinar.

The second webinar, which will take place on May 18, will feature a discussion on the offshore wind project review and approval process in the United States from the WTRIM perspective. Invited speakers include representatives from the DOD Siting Clearinghouse, BOEM, U.S. Coast Guard, DHS, NOAA, and industry. Register for the webinar.

International Partnering Forum for Offshore Wind

August 18–21, 2020
Rhode Island Convention Center, Providence, RI

WETO plans to exhibit at the Business Network for Offshore Wind’s International Partnering Forum. If you’re going to the event, stop by booth #503 to pick up our latest publications and see a 3D buoy model from DOE’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. Planned presentation topics from DOE’s National Laboratories include emerging technologies for offshore wind resource characterization, floating technology innovations, large-turbine trends, environmental effects in offshore environments, and workforce development. Register for IPF.


On April 6, 2020, AWEA announced the cancellation of the first annual CLEANPOWER Conference and Exhibition due to the COVID-19 outbreak. CLEANPOWER 2021 will take place June 7–10, 2021, in Indianapolis, Indiana. Find more information on the event website.

In Case You Missed It

Boosting Speed and Accuracy of Wind Plant Optimization Model

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has released a new version of its FLOw Redirection and Induction in Steady State (FLORIS) model for wind plant performance optimization. FLORIS, which was co-developed by NREL and the Delft University of Technology, is an open-source platform available for download and collaborative development. The latest update leverages new modeling tools to enhance FORIS’s ability to accurately design and analyze wind farm control strategies for larger arrays of turbines. Since 2018, more than 2,000 users have accessed the tool to inform turbine operation as well as wind farm design. By optimizing flow control strategies like wake steering, FLORIS enables existing wind energy facilities to improve productivity and increase profits.

For more information on the new model, see the FLORIS 1.1.14 documentation or read the new discussion paper in Wind Energy Science.

California Independent System Operator (CAISO) Shows Wind Can Play a Major Role in Renewable Integration

DOE’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), CAISO, Avangrid, and General Electric recently demonstrated the capability of large utility-scale wind plants to provide essential reliability services to the electricity grid. The testing, partially funded by DOE’s Wind Energy Technologies Office, was conducted in late 2019 over several days at Avangrid’s 131-megawatt Tule Wind Farm east of San Diego.

The testing covered a range of the wind plant’s capability to provide frequency and voltage support, including ramping, regulation up and down following CAISO’s dispatch signals, primary frequency response, and reactive power and voltage control even when wind is not blowing.

The resulting CAISO report concludes that many existing wind plants have the necessary hardware to provide the full suite of essential grid services, provided some simple changes in how they operate are made.