Winds of Change: Wind Energy Offers Growing Opportunities to Small Businesses and Communities Nationwide

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Energy dot gov Office of Energy Efficiency and renewable energy

Wind Energy Technologies Office


August 9, 2021

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In This Issue

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


Distributed wind turbine.

Small Businesses Selected to Help Advance Wind Energy as a Distributed Energy Resource

With funding from the Wind Energy Technologies Office (WETO), the Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) works with dozens of U.S. small businesses to advance wind as a distributed energy resource through the Competitiveness Improvement Project (CIP). On August 3, DOE announced the selection of eight small businesses that will develop wind technology as a cost-effective, reliable, and compatible distributed energy resource under the 2021 round of the CIP.

WINDExchange Releases Tools to Help Communities Realize Benefits of Wind Energy

Wind farm in the hills.

Clean energy, local jobs, increased local community tax revenues, and landowner income are just some of the many benefits wind energy projects can offer the communities in which they are located—but planning such projects can be complex. To help communities weigh potential benefits and understand siting considerations of a wind energy project, WETO’s WINDExchange initiative has released two new tools—a siting guide and a web-based economic development guide.

DOE Selects U.S. Small Businesses and Entrepreneurs for Wind Energy Innovations

Under DOE’s Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer program, the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy recently announced awards of $57 million to 53 projects by 51 American small businesses and entrepreneurs to help tackle the climate crisis through market-oriented solutions and emerging technologies. The selections include several wind-energy-related projects.

Lightning No Match for Wind Turbine Blade Protection System

Scientists at NREL have developed a lightning protection system for wind turbines blades using a new composite and an innovative thermal welding process. Created in partnership with GE and LM Wind Power and with funding from DOE’s Technology Commercialization Fund, the wind turbine “lightning shield” can divert about 80% of a lightning strike’s current away from the metal heating elements.

Wind farm during a lightening storm.

DOE Report Highlights Impact of WETO Research Investments

DOE’s Strategic Analysis Office has published a report detailing an analysis of the technological influence of wind energy research funded by WETO and its precursor programs, as well as wind energy research funded by other offices in DOE. The analysis confirmed a total of 174 wind energy patents associated with WETO funding.

New Financial Analysis Tool Identifies Long-Term Solutions for Energy Storage

Researchers at NREL have developed a Storage Financial Analysis Scenario Tool (StoreFAST) to evaluate energy costs and identify potential storage opportunities in a future electric grid with 85% renewables. Learn more about how StoreFAST analyzes energy storage and flexible power generation systems.


Upcoming Events International Partnering Forum (IPF) for Offshore Wind

IPF Together: August 24–26, 2021, Richmond, VA

The Business Network for Offshore Wind’s IPF convenes the global offshore wind industry and offers the latest in education, networking, and platforms to help the offshore wind industry grow. Agenda and registration details are on the IPF website.

AFloat 2021: American Floating Offshore Wind Technical Summit

Virtual: September 8–9, 2021

Hosted by the University of Maine, this 2-day summit will feature internationally recognized panelists and speakers from the burgeoning U.S. floating wind industry. Panel topics include U.S. port infrastructure and floating projects, environmental and wildlife considerations, moorings and anchors, and more. Register on the AFloat 2021 website.

Offshore WINDPOWER 2021 Conference & Exhibition

Conference and Exhibition: October 13–15, 2021, Boston, MA

The American Clean Power Association will host this conference, which provides opportunities for the offshore wind industry to cultivate relationships and tour exhibitions with offshore wind developers and experts. Information is on the event website.

Resilience Week

Symposium: October 18–21, 2021, Washington, D.C.

Organized by Idaho National Laboratory and a committee comprising national laboratories, academia, and industry, this symposium will convene public and private partners to discuss how to ensure a secure and reliable flow of energy across the nation. More information is on the website.

Sandia Blade Workshop

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

Sandia’s blade workshop convenes wind energy experts from industry, national laboratories, and universities to discuss R&D of wind turbine blades. For more information, visit Sandia’s website.

National Offshore Wind Research & Development Technical Symposium

Virtual: November 8–10, 2021

This virtual symposium will feature presentations from researchers working on Consortium-funded projects as well as industry panels on regional supply chain solutions, dual power systems, controls and design optimization, grid integration, wildlife monitoring, digitization, data collection, artificial intelligence, and floating offshore wind platforms and mooring solutions. Register on the event website.

Distributed Wind 2021 Lobby Day and Business Conference

Conference: November 15–18, 2021, Arlington, VA

Hosted by the Distributed Wind Energy Association, this conference convenes the distributed and community wind industry to showcase this sector of the wind industry, attend educational sessions, and network. More info is on the conference website.

American Clean Power Association CLEANPOWER 2021

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

CLEANPOWER will feature topics related to utility-scale wind, solar, storage, and transmission. The focus is to convene the technologies that make up the renewables mix—land-based wind, offshore wind, solar, storage, and transmission—and the different industry segments: manufacturers, construction firms, owner-operators, utilities, financial firms, and corporate entities. Register on the event website.

In Case You Missed It

North American Renewable Integration Study Highlights Opportunities for a Coordinated, Continental Low-Carbon Grid

The North American Renewable Integration Study (NARIS) can inform grid planners, utilities, industry, policymakers, and other stakeholders of the challenges and benefits of a well-connected, internationally integrated continental grid system that could accommodate large amounts of renewables. Read the DOE press release and more about the study and the implications for a low-carbon future.

DOE Announces 2021 Technology Commercialization Fund Selections

DOE recently announced $1.95 million in wind-energy-related projects for DOE national laboratories and their research partners as part of an overall award of more than $30 million in funding for 68 projects supported by the Office of Technology Transitions Technology Commercialization Fund (TCF).

Rural Area Distributed Wind Integration Network Development Featured in Podcast

The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association’s (NRECA’s) monthly “Along those Lines” podcast recently featured the WETO-funded Rural Area Distributed Wind Integration Network Development (RADWIND) project. Led by NRECA, RADWIND convenes rural utilities and electric cooperatives to identify solutions that can expand the use of distributed wind.