Offshore Wind Research Buoys Float into California’s Waters

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Energy dot gov Office of Energy Efficiency and renewable energy

Wind Energy Technologies Office


October 19, 2020

Catch the Wind: Mid-October 2020

In This Issue

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


Buoys Deployed Off the West Coast to Collect Data for Future Offshore Wind Energy Development

The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) has deployed two lidar buoys off the coast of California. One buoy is deployed in approximately 625 meters of water off the north coast and another in approximately 1,000 meters of water off the central coast. The buoys are collecting data—for the first time off the west coast of the United States—to support the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management in wind energy projects where they may develop and lease wind sites. Learn more about the buoys and recent upgrades that make them more powerful.

Maps Provide Easy-to-Understand Snapshots of Wind Resources

The ability to assess and characterize available wind resources is critical to the development, siting, and operation of a wind plant. DOE’s Wind Energy Technologies Office (WETO), which supports efforts to accurately define, measure, and forecast the nations land-based and offshore wind resources, recently announced a series of new and improved regional wind resource maps for the Northeast region of the United States.  

The latest Mid-Atlantic maps and more are available on WINDExchange. Wind resource maps for the Great Lakes region are planned for a release by the end of the year, with more maps to follow. 

Learn more about wind resource maps, how they serve as both art and science, and meet a cartographer at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). 

EERE is Hiring!

Are you an engineer or scientist interested in working for DOE's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE)? EERE is searching for enthusiastic, driven and committed professionals to fill our vacant positions.
DOE has Direct Hire Authority for General Engineers that allows EERE to hire more quickly than through the traditional government hiring process. EERE’s Wind Energy Technologies Office is seeking a General Engineer with experience in power electronics/power systems engineering. If you’re interested in one of these positions, please email and include your name, the best way you can be reached, and the position and EERE office that interests you. Then attach your resume.

PLEASE NOTE: Do not include personal information in your resume. We do NOT want you to include your social security number, photos of you, information about your age or gender, or any government-sensitive information. If EERE is interested after reviewing your resume, the DOE Human Capital office will contact you to request a transcript demonstrating that your educational background meets the basic eligibility requirements of the position in question.

Just Released: Fall 2020 Wind R&D Newsletter

The Fall 2020 edition of the Wind Research and Development (R&D) Newsletter highlights recent WETO-funded research, such as a supercharged suite of physics codes that enables researchers to test wind power plant designs in real time, how supersized wind turbines impact grid-system value, and a new methodology for assessing bearing axial cracking in wind turbine gearboxes. A roundup of news and publications makes it easy for you to keep abreast of the latest in wind R&D.

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


Wildlife & Wind Energy Webinar Series

Jointly hosted by NREL and Defenders of Wildlife, the Wildlife & Wind Energy Webinar Series familiarizes attendees with applied techniques for monitoring, permitting, reporting, and researching land-based wind energy and wildlife interactions. Experts from government agencies, private industry, academia, and NGOs discuss important background information and address research and regulatory considerations related to early stages of prospecting potential projects to full operation. Modeled on previous in-person workshops held at NREL’s Flatirons Campus, this webinar series is interactive and enables all stakeholders to effectively participate.

Impact Reduction Strategies for Eagles and Bats

Online: October 22, 2020, 11:30 a.m.–1:00 p.m. MT

The wind energy and wildlife community are striving to rapidly develop a suite of technologies and strategies that cost effectively meet species-specific conservation needs. Representatives from industry and regulatory agencies will share perspectives on how these strategies will advance wind energy and wildlife conservation. In addition, attendees will learn about a publicly available technology database and an exciting new tool in development.

In Case You Missed It

From Concept to Commercialization—Bat Deterrent for Wind Energy Goes Global

An ultrasonic bat deterrent technology developed by NRG Systems with funding from WETO has achieved commercialization and is now being deployed widely on Vestas and Siemens Gamesa turbines. Since 2009, WETO has funded several efforts to develop, improve, and field test ultrasonic deterrents to prevent bats from interacting with wind turbines. The deployment and utilization of ultrasonic deterrents show promise in reducing risk, particularly in low-wind-speed areas where the cost of curtailing wind turbine operations could affect the financial viability of a wind farm.

Wind Data and Trends Released

DOE’s National Laboratories collect, track, and publish a variety of data on U.S. wind installations, technology trends, costs, prices, performance, and more for the offshore, land-based, and distributed wind sectors. Here’s a roundup of the latest:

2019 Offshore Wind Technology Data Update from DOE’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory

The U.S. offshore wind industry had a pipeline of 28,521 megawatts (MW) in various stages of development at the end of 2019. The amount of U.S. offshore wind capacity under federal and state permitting with a signed offtake agreement was 6,439 MW, a threefold increase from the previous year. State-level offshore wind commitments increased from about 19,000 MW in 2018 to 29,000 MW in early 2020. Offshore wind turbines installed globally in 2019 average 6 MW in capacity, with rotor diameters of 150 meters. Other global trends include projects being installed in deeper waters further from shore. View a PowerPoint summary or download the 2019 Offshore Wind Technology Data.

Wind Energy Technology Data Update: 2020 Edition from DOE’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

The United States added 9,000 MW of new land-based, utility-scale wind power capacity in 2019, bringing the national total to 105.6 gigawatts. Wind power represented the second-largest source of U.S. electric-generating capacity additions in 2019 and provides more than 10% of electricity in 14 states. Continuing the long-term trend, average turbine capacity, rotor diameter, and hub height increased in 2019, significantly boosting wind project performance to a capacity factor of 41%. The national average price of wind power purchase agreements has dropped to less than 2 cents per kilowatt-hour, and the levelized cost of energy has dropped 60% in the past 10 years to $36 per megawatt-hour. View a PowerPoint summary or download the 2019 Wind Technology Data.

2019 Distributed Wind Data Summary from DOE’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

The U.S. distributed wind sector—which includes power from wind turbines installed near where the power will be used—added 18 MW of new distributed wind capacity in 17 states in 2019, bringing the national total to 1,145 MW from more than 85,000 turbines. Industrial and utility customers accounted for the majority of distributed wind capacity installed in 2019. View a PowerPoint summary or download the 2019 Distributed Wind Data.

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