Animations, Offshore Wind Solicitations, and Field Demonstrations

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Energy dot gov Office of Energy Efficiency and renewable energy

Wind Energy Technologies Office


July 20, 2020

Catch the Wind: July 2020

In This Issue

Continue to follow the Wind Energy Technologies Office for the latest news, events, and updates.


Sweeping Changes to Animation Broaden Understanding of Wind Power

Animated view of a wind farm.

Renovations to the popular How a Wind Turbine Works animation improve public understanding of how wind power works. The animation now includes several new features, such as an offshore direct-drive wind turbine view and revised explanations about how major parts of a wind turbine work to convert wind energy into electricity using simple, straightforward language.

The new animation will continue to receive periodic updates, so be sure to bookmark the page and check back. 

National Offshore Wind R&D Consortium Announces Topics for Next Solicitation

On July 6, the National Offshore Wind R&D Consortium announced the topics for its planned second solicitation of industry-prioritized research and development of U.S. offshore wind. Last year’s solicitation resulted in 20 awards totaling $17.3 million. The upcoming solicitation, scheduled for release later this summer, features three rounds:

  • Round 1: Enabling Large Scale Wind Turbines (applications due Sept. 21)
  • Round 2: Support Structure Innovation; Supply Chain Development (applications due Oct. 5)
  • Round 3: Electrical Systems and Innovation; Mitigation of Use Conflicts (applications due Oct. 19)

For more information, including the planned challenge areas within these rounds, see the Consortium’s YouTube video.

The Consortium was initially established in 2018 by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority to fund high-impact research projects to lower the costs of U.S. offshore wind and support supply chain development

Request for Information: Offshore Wind Energy Technology and Testing

DOE’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory has released a request for information (RFI) from offshore wind stakeholders on uses and capabilities for a possible instrumentation test buoy. The buoy would be used to test and validate new offshore wind measurement and environmental monitoring technologies developed by DOE or other entities. The information received may inform the specification and eventual procurement of a test buoy in support of the Wind Energy Technologies Office’s offshore wind R&D program. Responses to the RFI are due July 31, 2020.

California State University Maritime Academy and James Madison University Win Turbine Design and Project Development Awards in First-Ever Virtual Collegiate Wind Competition

After four days of intense virtual presentations, DOE announced the winners of the 2020 Collegiate Wind Competition (CWC). Judged by a panel of wind industry experts, the winner of the Turbine Digital Design contest is California State University Maritime Academy and the winner of the Project Development contest is James Madison University.

“This year’s Collegiate Wind Competition was a particularly memorable, as everyone involved had to quickly adapt to holding the competition in a virtual format,” said Daniel R Simmons, Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) at the U.S. Department of Energy. “I am inspired by the flexibility, resilience, and dedication of this year’s competitors. These talented students are the next generation of the wind energy workforce.”

U.S. Department of Energy Announces Nearly $53.4 Million in Small Business Research and Development

DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy will fund 49 new Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) research and development projects across 23 states, totaling nearly $53.4 million in funding. These projects, selected for Phase II funding of up to $1.5 million, will build on successful SBIR/STTR projects that demonstrated technical feasibility in Phase I.

The two wind energy projects are:

  • Current floating offshore wind anchoring and mooring solutions are expensive and not economical at quantity for a wind farm. Triton Systems, Inc. of Chelmsford, MA, is developing a new anchoring technology that will reduce the fabrication and installation costs of offshore wind farms and provide permitting benefits, such as less installation noise, compared to current market solutions.
  • To support recycling of wind turbine blades at the end of their use, Carbon Rivers, LLC of Knoxville, TN, is developing a novel pyrolysis method of reclaiming the glass fibers from retired wind turbine blades for use in second-generation composites. This technology limits degradation of the glass fiber during the recovery process so that the fibers maintain the mechanical properties needed for reuse.

Demonstration Shows How Wind Can Help Maintain Reliable Electricity System

New research has demonstrated that commercial wind power plants can supply more than just power—they can also help grid operators maintain a reliable electricity system. With support from the Wind Energy Technologies Office, a research team comprising the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Avangrid Renewables, the California Independent System Operator, and General Electric conducted a field demonstration showing how large, utility-scale wind power plants can provide essential grid services that ensure smooth and continuous flow of electricity on the power grid.

New Report on the Hidden Value of Larger Wind Turbines

The significant upscaling of wind turbine size (nameplate capacity, rotor diameter, and tower height) has, to date, been driven primarily by a goal of minimizing the levelized cost of energy. But with wind’s levelized cost of energy now comparable with that of other generating resources, other design considerations besides cost-minimization have grown in importance—particularly as wind’s increasing market penetration begins to impose challenges on the electric grid. A new study by DOE’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory finds that wind turbines with taller towers and larger rotors can enhance the value of wind energy to the electricity system and provide other “hidden” benefits, such as increased wholesale market value and transmission, balancing, and financing benefits.

DOE Releases Draft Energy Storage Grand Challenge Roadmap and Requests Stakeholder Input

On July 14, DOE released the Energy Storage Grand Challenge Draft Roadmap and a request for information (RFI) seeking stakeholder input on the Draft Roadmap. The Energy Storage Grand Challenge is a comprehensive program to accelerate the development, commercialization, and utilization of next-generation energy storage. The Draft Roadmap outlines a Department-wide strategy to accelerate innovation across a range of storage technologies based on three concepts: Innovate Here, Make Here, Deploy Everywhere. Responses to the RFI are due August 21.

Department of Energy Announces 2020 Technology Commercialization Fund Projects

DOE announced selections of more than $33 million in funding for 82 projects supported by the Office of Technology Transitions Technology Commercialization Fund (TCF). With over $36 million in matching funds from the private sector, these projects will advance the commercialization of promising energy technologies and strengthen partnerships between DOE’s National Laboratories and private sector companies to deploy these technologies to the marketplace.

Selected National Laboratories and partners for projects related to wind energy:

Argonne National Laboratory

  • Advanced Drivetrain Lubricants for Enhanced Reliability in Harsh Conditions, $1,000,000
    • Exxon Mobil, Annondale, New Jersey
    • GE Renewable Energy, Schenectady, New York
    • National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Golden, Colorado
    • Pixelligent Technologies, Baltimore, Maryland
    • University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

National Renewable Energy Laboratory

  • High Fidelity Modeling Toolkit for Wind Farm Development, $850,000
    • GE Global Research, Niskayuna, New York
    • GE Renewable Energy, Schenectady, New York
    • Sandia National Laboratories, Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Learn more about the Technology Commercialization Fund.

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Webinars & Events

International Partnering Forum for Offshore Wind

June 11–August 20, 2020

The Business Network for Offshore Wind announced that the International Partnering Forum for Offshore Wind will be held online August 18–20 and preceded by a biweekly livestream webinar series. 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.

Offshore Wind Turbine Radar Interference Webinar Series

The Wind Turbine Radar Interference Mitigation Working Group—a consortium of federal agencies composed of DOE, the U.S. Department of Defense, the Federal Aviation Administration, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), and the Department of Homeland Security—invite you attend a series of virtual webinars to discuss offshore wind turbine radar interference mitigation strategies and research needs for offshore wind development that may impact sensitive radar systems.

High-Frequency Coastal Radar

Online: Monday, July 27, 2020, 11 am – 1 pm ET

This webinar will feature presentations on mission impacts, technical issues, and mitigation options by NOAA’s Integrated Ocean Observing System, which manages the U.S. High-Frequency Radar Network; partner federal agencies including USCG and BOEM; academic partner institutions such as Rutgers University, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, and the University of California, Santa Barbara; and high-frequency radar manufacturer CODAR Ocean Sensors, Ltd.

Register for the webinar by July 24. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

AWEA Wind Resource & Project Energy Assessment Conference 2020

Minneapolis, Minnesota: September 29–30, 2020

The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) Wind Resource & Project Energy Assessment Conference focuses on power production from wind plants. Meteorologists and engineers will highlight recent advances, discuss the critical issues affecting wind resource assessment, and provide insights into the key matters by which the industry makes energy predictions. All fall AWEA conferences will feature a virtual attendance option.

AWEA Wind Project Siting and Environmental Compliance Conference 2020

Minneapolis, Minnesota: September 30–October 1, 2020

WETO and National Laboratory researchers plan to participate in the AWEA Wind Project Siting and Environmental Compliance Conference. This conference lends itself to showcase DOE-funded R&D to better understand and mitigate wind’s impacts on wildlife and air traffic, weather and defense radars, and community siting. All fall AWEA conferences will feature a virtual attendance option.

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In Case You Missed It

DOE Publishes 100-Meter Northeast Wind Resource Maps

The ability to assess and characterize available wind resources is critical to the development, siting, and operation of a wind plant. DOE’s WETO, which supports efforts to accurately define, measure, and forecast the nation's land-based and offshore wind resources, recently announced the first release in a series of new and improved regional wind resource maps. This release features the Northeast region of the United States; regions covering all 50 states will be added as they become available. These maps provide a comprehensive picture of the wind speed at 100 meters above surface level for policymakers, communities, and other stakeholders to better understand the wind resource potential in the Northeast. The availability of maps covering both land-based and offshore wind resources will enable better understanding of the wind power potential in their region.

The maps were developed by DOE’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) using modeled wind resource estimates developed by NREL via the Wind Integration National Dataset (WIND) Toolkit and are intended for general educational purposes only. While these maps can provide a general indication of good or poor wind resources, they do not provide a resolution high enough to identify local site features such as complex terrain, ground cover, and data needed prior to siting a wind project.

COVID-19 Technical Assistance Program

In support of efforts against the global pandemic, DOE’s Office of Technology Transitions has announced the COVID-19 Technical Assistance Program (CTAP). CTAP will provide funding for National Laboratories to offer short-term engagements with external entities on coronavirus-related projects. This is one way for innovators with technical challenges to take advantage of the cutting-edge researchers and facilities housed across the DOE Lab complex. Visit Lab Partnering Services for more information.

Spring 2020 Wind R&D Newsletter

If you missed the Spring 2020 edition of the Wind Research and Development (R&D) Newsletter, check it out! This issue highlights a new, multimegawatt reference wind turbine available through open-source software; robotic-crawler technology used to inspect wind turbine blades for hidden damage; and WETO efforts to monitor and address the gap in a qualified wind energy industry workforce.

Subscribe to learn more about WETO R&D projects, news, accomplishments, and recent publications.

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