The Breeze Felt around the World: Celebrating the Global Success of Wind Energy

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Energy dot gov Office of Energy Efficiency and renewable energy

Wind Energy Technologies Office


June 15, 2021

Newsletter Banner: "Catch the Wind: Global Wind Day Edition"

In This Issue

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


Celebrating the Successes and Future Potential of Wind Energy on Global Wind Day

Logo for Global Wind Day.

Happy Global Wind Day! With more than 740 gigawatts installed worldwide, wind energy has a growing presence in the world’s energy markets. Celebrated each year on June 15, Global Wind Day is a worldwide event organized by WindEurope and the Global Wind Energy Council to provide wind energy learning tools and activities. U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) national laboratories like Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) conduct research to help continue wind energy’s growth in the United States and around the world.

The Pennsylvania State University Receives Top Honors at 2021 Collegiate Wind Competition

Winners of the CWC 2021.

Congratulations to The Pennsylvania State University on winning the DOE's Collegiate Wind Competition! Thirteen multidisciplinary teams displayed their resilience and adaptability in a challenging year by presenting their work to a remote panel of judges at the virtual competition, June 2–10. Read the DOE press release to see how other teams fared in the overall competition as well as in Turbine Prototype, Project Development, and Connection Creation contests.

DOE’s Collegiate Wind Competition gives undergraduate students from a range of disciplines hands-on experience and industry connections—helping prepare them for jobs in the wind and renewable energy industries. Each year, the competition identifies a new challenge to address real-world wind industry needs. The 2021 challenge was to research, design, and build a wind turbine for deployment in highly uncertain times, with a significant degree of unknown risks and delays. This challenge informed the teams’ work as they created their turbine designs and wind project plans and engaged with their local communities.

Wind farm on a sunny day.

Biannual R&D Newsletter Highlights a Broad Range of Wind Research

On June 2, WETO released our bi-annual research and development (R&D) newsletter. The spring 2021 edition details WETO research across a range of topics, all aimed at advancing wind energy nationwide. The newsletter also offers insight into numerous R&D efforts by our national laboratories and funded partners. Highlights include research findings on wind energy costs, better grid interconnection, and wind plant repowering as well as projects to develop technologies such as acoustic monitoring for right whales and the first inverter specifically for small- and medium-scale wind turbines. Read the spring 2021 edition and subscribe for future issues on the WETO website.

Partnerships Increasing the Reach and Impact of Offshore Wind R&D

Recently announced by the Departments of Interior, Commerce, and Energy, the goal to deploy 30 gigawatts (GW) of offshore wind by 2030 will catalyze the growth of a new industry, revitalize our nation’s waterfronts, provide good-paying jobs, and help address the climate emergency. Achieving this goal will require research, development and deployment activities across a range of stakeholders, leveraging the talent and expertise from DOE’s national laboratories, other federal agencies, industry, academia, non-profits, and others to find durable, innovative solutions to advance technology and reduce barriers.

NREL has long partnered with industry, government, and research organizations, combining expertise to characterize wind resources, harness more power, optimize power plants and wind turbines, and assess environmental impacts. Through its partnerships, NREL coordinates across stakeholder groups to address R&D—from researching and advancing wind components to analyzing offshore wind costs, revenues, and risks. Learn more about NREL’s offshore wind research on the lab’s website.

New Distributed Wind Modeling Capabilities Reveal Cost-Saving Opportunities

Researchers at DOE’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) developed a new extension to the Land-Based Balance-of-System Systems Engineering Model (LandBOSSE) to estimate balance-of-system capital costs for U.S. distributed wind systems. Balance-of-system costs—which can account for 50% of distributed wind project costs—relate to preparing a project site, constructing foundations, installing electrical infrastructure, and erecting and installing the turbine tower.

Using the new LandBOSSE model to identify balance-of-system cost drivers for six theoretical distributed wind turbine systems, NREL analysts found that key cost drivers for projects with smaller turbine sizes (less than 100 kilowatts) are turbine foundations, erection, and installation. For projects with machines greater than 100 kilowatts, grid-connection costs are highest. Researchers then identified several technology innovations that could reduce these costs.

The complete study findings are in NREL’s technical report, Technology Innovation Pathways for Distributed Wind Balance-of-System Cost Reduction.

Study Aims to Address Gaps in Defining Resilience

Idaho National Laboratories (INL) recently released results of an effort to address the lack of a generally accepted definition and application of resilience. Part of INL’s work under WETO’s Microgrids, Infrastructure Resilience, and Advanced Controls Launchpad (MIRACL) project, the study aimed to better define the term resilience, in turn furthering an understanding of resilience in electric energy delivery systems. INL researchers used existing research and applied the findings to distributed wind, which offered an example of how system resilience is affected by technologies and generation sources. The paper is available on INL’s MIRACL website.

EERE and DOE’s SBIR Program Select U.S. Small Businesses to Develop Wind Energy Innovations

DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy recently selected four wind-energy-related projects for Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I funding. The announcement is part of DOE-wide awards totaling $54 million. Read more about the selections.


Overview of Fixed-Bottom Offshore Wind Webinar

Virtual: June 16, 2021, 1:00 pm ET

Join the WINDExchange program for a webinar introducing offshore wind fixed-bottom foundation technology. WINDExchange will facilitate the event, featuring a presentation by National Renewable Energy Laboratory offshore wind researcher Walt Musial. The presentation will offer basic technical information including offshore wind basics, a discussion of foundation types, and construction considerations, all in an accessible format for a variety of audiences. More details as well as future wind technology webinars are available on the WINDExchange website.

Webinar on the EERE FY22 Budget Request for Renewable Power

Virtual: June 17, 2021, 4:00 p.m. ET

Join DOE’s Deputy Assistant Secretary for Renewable Power Alejandro Moreno and Wind Energy Technologies Office Director Robert Marlay for a webinar on DOE’s Fiscal Year 2022 Budget Request for Renewable Power. To lead in the transition to a 100% clean energy economy, DOE’s budget request includes more than $1 billion to deploy the clean energy technologies that can deliver pollution-free, affordable energy to all Americans while creating jobs and building a more equitable economy.  This one-hour chat will highlight the activities, programs, and initiatives proposed in the budget request to invest in activities that are critical to further reduce the cost of renewables, and to address barriers to rapid renewables deployment and integration. The final 15 minutes will be reserved for questions. Register to attend via Zoom

International Partnering Forum (IPF) for Offshore Wind

Virtual: IPF Virtual, June 17, 2021
IPF Together: August 24–26, 2021, Richmond, VA

The Business Network for Offshore Wind’s International Partnering Forum (IPF) is being held in a multi-part series: virtual and in person. The series will bring together the global offshore wind industry and offer the latest in education, networking, and platforms to help the offshore wind industry grow. IPF Virtual will take place April 22, May 13, and June 17; the main conference, IPF Together, will take place August 24–26 in Richmond, VA. Agenda and registration details are on the IPF website.

Sandia Blade Workshop

Workshop: October 25–28, 2021, Albuquerque, NM

Sandia National Laboratories issued a “Save the Date” for its 2021 Sandia Blade Workshop, scheduled for October 25–28 in Albuquerque, NM. The workshop convenes wind energy experts from industry, national laboratories, and universities to discuss the research and development of wind turbine blades. For more information, visit Sandia National Laboratories website.


Tradeshow and Business Development: Dec 7–8, 2021, Salt Lake City, UT

The American Clean Power Association will host CLEANPOWER 2021, which will feature topics related to utility-scale wind, solar, storage, and transmission in a two-part series: virtual (completed) and in person. The in-person conference and exhibition will be held December 7–8 in Salt Lake City, UT. The focus for these events is to bring together the different technologies that make up the renewables mix—land-based wind, offshore wind, solar, storage, and transmission—as well as the different segments within the industries: manufacturers, construction firms, owner-operators, utilities, financial firms, and corporate entities. Register for CLEANPOWER 2021 on the event website.

In Case You Missed It

Turning Oranges to Apples: A Cutting-Edge Price Comparison for Renewables

A new, comprehensive approach is now available for evaluating renewable energy project revenue and value holistically. Stakeholders increasingly compare renewable energy technologies based on prices from auctions and power purchase agreements (PPAs), but such face-value price comparisons can be misleading. Auction and PPA prices are often not directly comparable because they come from different value frameworks, jurisdictions or points in time, each reflecting their own markets, taxes, and regulatory environments.

To facilitate more meaningful comparisons, researchers from NREL—in collaboration with international researchers working under the International Energy Agency’s Wind Technology Collaboration Programme—have developed a new approach that uses project revenue and value assessments to facilitate improved “apples-to-apples” comparisons between projects and against established cost metrics.

Read the article in Joule to learn more about how the approach evaluates project revenue and value holistically and about its application to eight global offshore wind projects.

National Offshore Wind Research and Development Consortium Announces Offshore Wind Supply Chain Roadmap Project

On May 13 at the Business Network for Offshore Wind’s International Partnering Forum, DOE Acting Assistant Secretary Kelly Speakes-Backman announced the launch of a comprehensive U.S. offshore wind supply chain roadmap project in partnership with the National Offshore Wind R&D Consortium, NREL, Business Network for Offshore Wind, State of Maryland, and New York State Energy R&D Authority. The project will gather data through the Supply Chain Connect tool—a database, or information clearinghouse, used by developers to search for suppliers and by vendors seeking to introduce themselves to industry. Once the data are robust, NREL will evaluate the results and carry out a detailed analysis of current resources and gaps. The project will also characterize the benefits of strengthening the domestic supply chain and leveraging existing strengths.

“Offshore wind will be an important element of meeting President Biden’s goal to achieve a 100% clean energy economy with net-zero emissions by 2050,” said Kelly Speakes-Backman, DOE’s Acting Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. “This project will help us develop a robust domestic offshore wind supply chain that will support tens of thousands of good-paying jobs and spur significant national and regional economic growth.”

DOE and Industry Partner to Ensure Cybersecurity for Wind Energy Systems

WETO and Office of Cybersecurity, Energy Security, and Emergency Response (CESER) have announced the formation of a national Wind Cybersecurity Consortium. The Consortium convenes NREL and six leading wind industry organizations to improve the cybersecurity of the U.S. wind fleet through collaborative analysis, development, and information sharing.

The public-private consortium will identify use cases and develop a platform to improve intelligence on wind energy threats and address the need for focus on the potential risks and consequences of cyber intrusions on wind turbines and their systems and controls. Consortium activities will align with strategies and goals from WETO’s Roadmap for Wind Cybersecurity and CESER’s Multiyear Plan for Energy Sector Cybersecurity.