Rural Areas Benefit from Distributed Wind

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Wind Energy Technologies Office


May 12, 2022

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In This Issue

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

Icon for distributed wind.

Did you know?

Distributed wind power is used at or near where it is generated, as opposed to wind power from wholesale generation, where power is sent to consumers via transmission lines and substations.

Check out our website to learn more!

Clean Energy Champions

Joy Page

Meet WETO Environmental Research Manager Joy Page

Meet Joy Page, who recently joined the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Wind Energy Technologies Office (WETO) as a biologist. Joy plans on using her diverse work experience and education to battle the climate crisis head-on, with a particular focus on wildlife co-existence with wind and solar development. She may be a new WETO employee, but Joy’s no stranger to the department. While directing the renewable energy program for Defenders of Wildlife, Joy reviewed and collaborated with the WETO office.

Research & Development Features

Unlocking Distributed Wind Energy’s Significant Potential

A school with solar panels on the roof and a distributed wind turbine in the background.

Nearly 1,400 gigawatts of distributed wind capacity could be profitably deployed today and bring clean power to millions of American households, according to a comprehensive analysis released today by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

Funded by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Wind Energy Technologies Office, the Distributed Wind Energy Futures Study identifies the best U.S. locations for distributed wind energy of all forms.

“This study illustrates distributed wind energy’s significant potential and economic viability,” said NREL Energy Analyst Eric Lantz. “Optimistically, distributed wind energy could generate terawatt-level power and play a meaningful role in the U.S. energy future.”

NREL is hosting a webinar to discuss the study’s findings:

  • Title: Distributed Wind Energy Futures Study: Exploring opportunities for distributed and community scale wind during the next two decades
  • Date/time: Tuesday, May 24, 2 p.m. Eastern
  • Registration link:

The Winds of St. Mary’s

A group of buildings in the snow.

Standalone wind turbines can transform the rural Alaskan community of St. Mary’s, according to a new study conducted by Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and Sandia National Laboratories.

The research team discovered that the avoided cost of diesel—$5.3 million expected over the lifetime of a single turbine—was the most significant benefit to the local Alaska Village Electric Cooperative. Additionally, it could result in a tremendous environmental benefit—valued at almost $2 million from avoiding long-term societal damages due to carbon dioxide emissions from diesel generators. Read the full R&D feature.


View looking up at a tall wind turbine tower.

Companies Reach Innovative New Heights to Expand Wind Technology

Unique problems call for unique solutions which is exactly why companies from the wind technology industry are developing taller wind turbine towers at lower prices. While Keystone Tower Systems is using spiral-welding in order to use less costly steel, and GE Renewables is experimenting with 3D printing to create customizable tower bases, they are both addressing the transportation barriers hindering taller wind turbines with support from WETO. Learn more about both in the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) guest blog in the American Clean Power Association’s lead-up to next week’s CLEANPOWER Conference.

Next Week: Don't Miss the 2022 Collegiate Wind Competition and DOE at CLEANPOWER 2022

It’s time for the future workforce of the wind industry to shine! DOE is uniting universities and wind energy experts from around the country in the 2022 Collegiate Wind Competition (CWC), culminating in a head-to-head competition at next week’s CLEANPOWER Conference in San Antonio. The 2022 CWC focuses on themes of siting, outreach, and development challenges associated with fixed-bottom offshore wind energy projects. Over the course of this past school year, 12 competing teams and four learn-along teams have designed, built, and tested model wind turbines, developed project plans, collaborated with industry experts, and engaged with their local communities. It’s been anything but a breeze, but the teams are ready show off their hard work! If you’re in San Antonio, stop by Hall 1 and cheer them on!

Students interested in participating in next year’s competition can submit their application by June 20, 2022. Learn more about next year’s competition and apply today.

Also at the American Clean Power Association’s CLEANPOWER 2022 Conference & Exhibition Conference next week, stop by booth #807 to learn about DOE-funded research and DOE’s newest initiatives.

New Journal Article Identifies Requirements for Procedural Justice in Wind Energy Development

Expanding wind energy deployment requires communities to host wind projects, and research has shown that communities are more willing to host wind energy when they feel the planning process has been fair. A new WETO-funded paper by Berkeley Lab researchers looks at the planning process for two wind farms in Ohio and Minnesota, and argues that procedural justice in wind energy development requires: (1) community members to get similar information and participation opportunities, whether compensated or not, (2) local governments to get objective information needed to make good decisions, (3) neighbors able to meaningfully participate in decisions surrounding wind farm construction, operation, and decommissioning, and (4) project developers to consider and respect local contexts of power generation, and community members’ perspectives. Read the full article.

Updated Wind Career Map Is Now Available

Does your career search need a breath of fresh air? Check out the updated Wind Career Map! First unveiled in 2014, DOE’s Wind Career Map, has now been updated to include a more modern and user-friendly interface. Job roles have also been updated, and the map has been organized into easily navigated sections based on degreed versus vocational careers, making for clearer roles and paths.

Screenshot of the interactive Wind Career Map.

This map shows the careers available to someone with a bachelor’s degree or higher. Most occupations in this map include a wide range of skill levels and therefore could sit in a higher or lower row (higher or lower on the y-axis) than the job level designated in this map. Continuing education and on-the-job-training are essential for workers in the rapidly evolving wind industry and would likely influence the job level.


CLEANPOWER 2022 Conference and Exhibition

Conference: May 16–18, 2022, San Antonio, TX

The American Clean Power Association’s (ACP) annual conference will feature panels, presentations, workshops, and poster sessions that make up the renewables mix from land-based wind, offshore wind, solar, storage, and transmission. Attend the general session, Wednesday, May 18, 10–11 A.M. CT to hear from Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm and ACP Chief Executive Officer Heather Zichal as they share their vision of building a clean energy economy at this critical moment of the energy transition. Find more information on the event website

Collegiate Wind Competition at CLEANPOWER 2022

Competition: May 16–18, 2022, San Antonio, TX

Join us at the 2022 U.S. Department of Energy Collegiate Wind Competition as multidisciplinary university teams present the culmination of their work in wind energy over the past year. Find more information on the event website.

2022 ARPA-E Energy Innovation Summit

Conference: May 23–25, 2022, Denver, CO

The ARPA-E Energy Innovation Summit is an annual conference and technology showcase that brings together experts from different technical disciplines and professional communities to think about America's energy challenges in new and innovative ways. Now in its twelfth year, the Summit offers a unique, three-day program aimed at moving transformational energy technologies out of the lab and into the market. Agenda and registration details can be found on the ARPA-E website.

Distributed Wind Energy Futures Study Webinar

Webinar: May 24, 2022, 2 p.m. ET

This webinar will feature the just-released Distributed Wind Energy Futures Study. NREL analysts will discuss the technical and economic potential of distributed wind applications from the kilowatt to community scale in behind-the-meter applications and when interconnected directly into the distribution system. In addition, the presenters will consider opportunities for distributed wind energy in disadvantaged communities and for agricultural, commercial and industrial, and residential lands specifically. Overall, this webinar will illuminate the important role that distributed wind energy can play in support of energy transition. Find more information on the event website.

Torque Conference 2022

Conference: June 1–3, 2022, Delft, Netherlands

TU Delft Wind Energy Institute will host the biennial scientific conference ‘The Science of Making Torque from Wind’ (TORQUE). The 9th edition, TORQUE 2022 will be held June 1–3, 2022 in Delft Netherlands and will feature research and development from the U.S. Department of Energy's National Labs who tackle the critical scientific challenges of our time. Find more information on the event website.

Deployable Wind Power for Defense and Disaster Response

Workshop: June 17, 2022, 10 a.m. ET

Stakeholders are invited to attend this workshop, hosted by Sandia National Laboratories, NREL, Idaho National Laboratory, and University of Dayton Research Institute, to learn more about integrating wind energy in hybrid deployable energy systems and understanding the needs of the defense and disaster response communities. Register to connect with research, industry, academic, and government attendees at a workshop aimed at bringing wind energy manufacturers together with power-integrator end users. Learn more about the Defense and Disaster Deployable Turbine project, funded by WETO. 

Sandia Blade Workshop

Workshop: October 17–20, 2022, Albuquerque, NM

The workshop brings together wind industry experts, wind farm stakeholders and operators, manufacturers, and researchers to address the major topics for wind turbine blades, facilitate interaction and networking among the attendees, and identify future technology pathways. For more information, visit Sandia’s website.

In Case You Missed It

  • The National Renewable Energy Laboratory and General Electric teamed up to demonstrate that a common type of wind turbine can match the voltage and frequency stability often provided by fossil fuel power plants.
  • DOE’s Wind Energy Technologies Office is currently hiring!
  • Sign up to receive funding notices from DOE! EERE has launched a new email list to share its funding opportunities and prizes. Researchers, entrepreneurs, academics, professionals, and other stakeholders are encouraged to sign up to receive information about open funding programs for all of EERE’s clean energy technologies. Visit EERE’s Funding Opportunities to subscribe and find additional resources and the latest information.