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Building State-of-the-Art Wind Technology Testing Facilities (Fact Sheet)

Description: The new Wind Technology Test Center is the only facility in the nation capable of testing wind turbine blades up to 90 meters in length. A critical factor to wind turbine design and development is the ability to test new designs, components, and materials. In addition, wind turbine blade manufacturers are required to test their blades as part of the turbine certification process. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) partnered with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Wind Program and the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC) to design, construct, and operate the Wind Technology Center (WTTC) in Boston, Massachusetts. The WTTC offers a full suite of certification tests for turbine blades up to 90 meters in length. NREL worked closely with MTS Systems Corporation to develop the novel large-scale test systems needed to conduct the static and fatigue tests required for certification. Static tests pull wind turbine blades horizontally and vertically to measure blade deflection and strains. Fatigue tests cycle the blades millions of times to simulate what a blade goes through in its lifetime on a wind turbine. For static testing, the WTTC is equipped with servo-hydraulic winches and cylinders that are connected to the blade through cables to apply up to an 84-mega Newton meter maximum static bending moment. For fatigue testing, MTS developed a commercial version of NREL's patented resonant excitation system with hydraulic cylinders that actuate linear moving masses on the blade at one or more locations. This system applies up to a 21-meter tip-to-tip fatigue test tip displacement to generate 20-plus years of cyclic field loads in a matter of months. NREL also developed and supplied the WTTC with an advanced data acquisition system capable of measuring and recording hundreds of data channels at very fast sampling rates while communicating with test control systems.
Date: March 1, 2012
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Complex Flow: Workshop Report; January 17-18, 2012, University of Colorado, Boulder

Description: The Department of Energy's Wind Program organized a two-day workshop designed to examine complex wind flow into and out of the wind farm environment and the resulting impacts on the mechanical workings of individual wind turbines. An improved understanding of these processes will subsequently drive down the risk involved for wind energy developers, financiers, and owner/operators, thus driving down the cost of energy.
Date: June 1, 2012
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

NREL Collaborative Improves the Reliability of Wind Turbine Gearboxes (Fact Sheet)

Description: Gearbox failures have a significant impact on the cost of wind farm operations. To help minimize gearbox failures, in 2007 the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) initiated the Gearbox Reliability Collaborative (GRC), which consists of manufacturers, owners, researchers, and consultants. Based on all the lessons learned from the past five years, the GRC has now produced a new and improved design, which is projected to yield an operating lifetime of 12 years, more than triple that of the previous redesigned gearbox. The GRC findings will result in increased gearbox reliability and an overall reduction in the cost of wind energy.
Date: September 1, 2013
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Wind Powering America's Regional Stakeholder Meetings and Priority State Reports: FY11 Summary

Description: Beginning in 2010, DOE conducted an assessment of Wind Powering America (WPA) activities to determine whether the methods the department had used to help grow the wind industry to provide 2% of the nation's electrical energy should be the same methods used to achieve 20% of the nation's energy from wind (as described in the report 20% Wind Energy by 2030: Increasing Wind Energy's Contribution to U.S. Electricity Supply). After the assessment, it was determined that the initiative's state-based activities should be phased out as part of a shift to regional-based approaches. To assist with this transition, WPA hosted a series of 1-day regional meetings at six strategic locations around the country and a single teleconference for island states, U.S. territories, and remote communities. This report summarizes the results of the inaugural regional meetings and the state reports with a focus on ongoing wind deployment barriers in each region.
Date: June 1, 2013
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

NREL Innovations Help Drive Wind Industry Transformation (Fact Sheet)

Description: For nearly 30 years, NREL has helped the wind turbine industry through design and research innovations. The comprehensive capabilities of the National Wind Technology Center (NWTC), ranging from specialized computer simulation tools to unique test facilities, has been used to design, develop, and deploy several generations of advanced wind energy technology.
Date: August 1, 2013
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Distributed Wind Policy Comparison Tool Guidebook

Description: Power through Policy: 'Best Practices' for Cost-Effective Distributed Wind is a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)-funded project to identify distributed wind technology policy best practices and to help policymakers, utilities, advocates, and consumers examine their effectiveness using a pro forma model. Incorporating a customized feed from the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency (DSIRE), the Web-based Distributed Wind Policy Comparison Tool (Policy Tool) is designed to assist state, local, and utility officials in understanding the financial impacts of different policy options to help reduce the cost of distributed wind technologies. The Policy Tool can be used to evaluate the ways that a variety of federal and state policies and incentives impact the economics of distributed wind (and subsequently its expected market growth). It also allows policymakers to determine the impact of policy options, addressing market challenges identified in the U.S. DOE's '20% Wind Energy by 2030' report and helping to meet COE targets.
Date: November 1, 2011
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

NREL Collaborates to Improve Wind Turbine Technology (Fact Sheet)

Description: NREL's Gearbox Reliability Collaborative leads to wind turbine gearbox reliability, lowering the cost of energy. Unintended gearbox failures have a significant impact on the cost of wind farm operations. In 2007, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) initiated the Gearbox Reliability Collaborative (GRC), which follows a multi-pronged approach based on a collaborative of manufacturers, owners, researchers, and consultants. The project combines analysis, field testing, dynamometer testing, condition monitoring, and the development and population of a gearbox failure database. NREL and other GRC partners have been able to identify shortcomings in the design, testing, and operation of wind turbines that contribute to reduced gearbox reliability. In contrast to private investigations of these problems, GRC findings are quickly shared among GRC participants, including many wind turbine manufacturers and equipment suppliers. Ultimately, the findings are made public for use throughout the wind industry. This knowledge will result in increased gearbox reliability and an overall reduction in the cost of wind energy. Project essentials include the development of two redesigned and heavily instrumented representative gearbox designs. Field and dynamometer tests are conducted on the gearboxes to build an understanding of how selected loads and events translate into bearing and gear response. The GRC evaluates and validates current wind turbine, gearbox, gear and bearing analytical tools/models, develops new tools/models, and recommends improvements to design and certification standards, as required. In addition, the GRC is investigating condition monitoring methods to improve turbine reliability. Gearbox deficiencies are the result of many factors, and the GRC team recommends efficient and cost-effective improvements in order to expand the industry knowledge base and facilitate immediate improvements in the gearbox life cycle.
Date: January 1, 2012
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

NREL Establishes a 1.5-MW Wind Turbine Test Platform for Research Partnerships (Fact Sheet)

Description: Research turbine supports sustained technology development. For more than three decades, engineers at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory's (NREL) National Wind Technology Center (NWTC) have worked with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Wind Program and industry partners to advance wind energy technology, improve wind turbine performance, and reduce the cost of energy. Although there have been dramatic increases in performance and drops in the cost of wind energy-from $0.80 per kilowatt-hour to between $0.06 and $0.08 per kilowatt-hour-the goal of the DOE Wind Program is to further increase performance and reduce the cost of energy for land-based systems so that wind energy can compete with natural gas by 2020. In support of the program's research and development (R and D) efforts, NREL has constructed state-of-the-art facilities at the NWTC where industry partners, universities, and other DOE laboratories can conduct tests and experiments to further advance wind technology. The latest facility to come online is the DOE-GE 1.5-MW wind turbine test platform. Working with DOE, NREL purchased and installed a GE 1.5-MW wind turbine at the NWTC in 2009. Since then, NREL engineers have extensively instrumented the machine, conducted power performance and full-system modal tests, and collected structural loads measurements to obtain baseline characterization of the turbine's power curve, vibration characteristics, and fatigue loads in the uniquely challenging NWTC inflow environment. By successfully completing a baseline for the turbine's performance and structural response, NREL engineers have established a test platform that can be used by industry, university, and DOE laboratory researchers to test wind turbine control systems and components. The new test platform will also enable researchers to acquire the measurements needed to develop and validate wind turbine models and improve design codes.
Date: March 1, 2012
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

20% Wind Energy - Diversifying Our Energy Portfolio and Addressing Climate Change (Brochure)

Description: This brochure describes the R&D efforts needed for wind energy to meet 20% of the U.S. electrical demand by 2030. In May 2008, DOE published its report, 20% Wind Energy by 2030, which presents an in-depth analysis of the potential for wind energy in the United States and outlines a potential scenario to boost wind electric generation from its current production of 16.8 gigawatts (GW) to 304 GW by 2030. According to the report, achieving 20% wind energy by 2030 could help address climate change by reducing electric sector carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by 825 million metric tons (20% of the electric utility sector CO2 emissions if no new wind is installed by 2030), and it will enhance our nation's energy security by diversifying our electricity portfolio as wind energy is an indigenous energy source with stable prices not subject to fuel volatility. According to the report, increasing our nation's wind generation could also boost local rural economies and contribute to significant growth in manufacturing and the industry supply chain. Rural economies will benefit from a substantial increase in land use payments, tax benefits and the number of well-paying jobs created by the wind energy manufacturing, construction, and maintenance industries. Although the initial capital costs of implementing the 20% wind scenario would be higher than other generation sources, according to the report, wind energy offers lower ongoing energy costs than conventional generation power plants for operations, maintenance, and fuel. The 20% scenario could require an incremental investment of as little as $43 billion (net present value) more than a base-case no new wind scenario. This would represent less than 0.06 cent (6 one-hundredths of 1 cent) per kilowatt-hour of total generation by 2030, or roughly 50 cents per month per household. The report concludes that while achieving the 20% wind ...
Date: May 1, 2008
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Distributed Wind Case Study: Cross Island Farms, Wellesley Island, New York (Fact Sheet)

Description: Installing a small wind turbine can sometimes be difficult due to economics, zoning issues, public perception, and other barriers. Persistence and innovation, however, can result in a successful installation. Dani Baker and David Belding own Cross Island Farms, a 102-acre certified organic farm on Wellesley Island in northern New York. In 2009, they took their interest in renewable energy to the next level by researching the logistics of a small wind installation on their land to make their farm even more sustainable. Their renewable energy system consists of one 10-kilowatt Bergey Excel wind turbine, a solar array, and a propane-powered generator. This case study describes funding for the project and the installation process.
Date: April 1, 2012
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Coming Soon! 2011 Wind Technologies Market Report (Postcard)

Description: This valuable report will be available this summer! Prepared by the Energy Department's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, the report is a must read, providing a comprehensive overview of United States wind industry: Installation Trends, Industry Trends, Price, Cost, and Performance Trends, Policy and Market Drivers, Future Outlook.
Date: June 1, 2012
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

NREL Develops New Controls that Proactively Adapt to the Wind (Fact Sheet)

Description: Until now, wind turbine controls that reduce the impacts of wind gusts and turbulence were always reactive -- responding to the wind rather than anticipating it. But with today's laser-based sensors that measure wind speed ahead of the turbine, researchers at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and their industry partners are developing more intelligent controls. The world's first field tests of these controls are currently underway at the National Wind Technology Center (NWTC) at NREL, with plans for future commercialization.
Date: October 1, 2012
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

NREL Develops New Controls that Proactively Adapt to the Wind (Fact Sheet)

Description: Until now, wind turbine controls that reduce the impacts of wind gusts and turbulence were always reactive-responding to the wind rather than anticipating it. But with today's laser-based sensors that measure wind speed ahead of the turbine, researchers at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and their industry partners are developing more intelligent controls. The world's first field tests of these controls are currently underway at the National Wind Technology Center (NWTC) at NREL, with plans for future commercialization.
Date: November 1, 2012
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Field Testing: Independent, Accredited Testing and Validation for the Wind Industry (Fact Sheet)

Description: This fact sheet describes the field testing capabilities at the National Wind Technology Center (NWTC). NREL's specialized facilities and personnel at the NWTC provide the U.S. wind industry with scientific and engineering support that has proven critical to the development of wind energy for U.S. energy needs. The NWTC's specialized field-testing capabilities have evolved over 30 years of continuous support by the U.S. Department of Energy Wind and Hydropower Technologies Program and long standing industry partnerships. The NWTC provides wind industry manufacturers, developers, and operators with turbine and component testing all in one convenient location. Although industry utilizes sophisticated modeling tools to design and optimize turbine configurations, there are always limitations in modeling capabilities, and testing is a necessity to ensure performance and reliability. Designs require validation and testing is the only way to determine if there are flaws. Prototype testing is especially important in capturing manufacturing flaws that might require fleet-wide retrofits. The NWTC works with its industry partners to verify the performance and reliability of wind turbines that range in size from 400 Watts to 3 megawatts. Engineers conduct tests on components and full-scale turbines in laboratory environments and in the field. Test data produced from these tests can be used to validate turbine design codes and simulations that further advance turbine designs.
Date: November 1, 2011
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

National Wind Technology Center (Fact Sheet)

Description: This overview fact sheet is one in a series of information fact sheets for the National Wind Technology Center (NWTC). Wind energy is one of the fastest growing electricity generation sources in the world. NREL's National Wind Technology Center (NWTC), the nation's premier wind energy technology research facility, fosters innovative wind energy technologies in land-based and offshore wind through its research and testing facilities and extends these capabilities to marine hydrokinetic water power. Research and testing conducted at the NWTC offers specialized facilities and personnel and provides technical support critical to the development of advanced wind energy systems. From the base of a system's tower to the tips of its blades, NREL researchers work side-by-side with wind industry partners to increase system reliability and reduce wind energy costs. The NWTC's centrally located research and test facilities at the foot of the Colorado Rockies experience diverse and robust wind patterns ideal for testing. The NWTC tests wind turbine components, complete wind energy systems and prototypes from 400 watts to multiple megawatts in power rating.
Date: December 1, 2011
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department