Research & Development Feature
New Study Could Explain How Atmospheric Phenomena Affect Wind Power Plants
Mysterious atmospheric manipulations, like wakes, can impact how much energy a wind plant produces. Currently, wind energy models are too imprecise to explain exactly how these phenomena interact with wind turbines and wind plants. But now, the international, WETO-funded American WAKE experimeNt (or AWAKEN, for short) is launching a massive data collection effort that could help wind power plants increase their energy production with a few strategic moves.
Learn more about the study, which will capture detailed data on how winds shift as they travel from one wind turbine to another or from one wind plant to another. This atmospheric map could help developers adapt their wind plant designs to produce more energy from the same winds, increase profits, and, eventually, reduce electricity prices for consumers.
Competitiveness Improvement Project Request for Proposals Open With New Deployment Category
DOE’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory has issued a request for proposals for the Competitiveness Improvement Project (CIP)—including a new funding opportunity for manufacturers of small and medium-sized wind turbines to propose solutions that address cost barriers to rapid technology deployment. Over its 10-year history, CIP has helped more than two dozen small businesses across the United States to develop new and innovative distributed wind energy technology, matching cost reductions seen in other renewable-based distributed energy technologies. The aim of CIP is to make distributed wind energy more cost competitive, improve its interoperability with other distributed energy resources, and increase the number of small and mid-scale wind turbine designs certified to national standards.
DOE Released Report Characterizing Wind Energy Industry Supply Chain Strengths, Weaknesses, and Opportunities
Last week, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) released a series of 13 deep-dive assessments on American manufacturing supply chains, reviewing both the obstacles to a reliable supply of key materials and opportunities for improvement. The Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) developed seven of the assessments, each of which focuses on a different component of DOE’s clean-energy portfolio. The wind energy report covers components, processed and raw materials, recycling, digital products, and the wind energy industry workforce. It discusses U.S. wind energy industry competitiveness, includes a supply-chain risk assessment, and lists opportunities for private-sector collaboration to address vulnerabilities and enhance competitiveness.
DOE Released 2022 Technology Commercialization Fund Solicitations
DOE needs your help to commercialize national laboratory intellectual property faster to meet the major challenges we face as a nation and in the world today. Now you can have a direct impact on accelerating the path to market through DOE’s Technology Commercialization Fund. Join WETO in partnering with the DOE Office of Technology Transitions and eight other DOE program offices on this solicitation, to see what our stakeholders can bring to the table. To learn more about the Fiscal Year 2022 Core Lab Infrastructure for Commercialization Lab Call, visit the DOE TCF Website.
Technology, Not Windier Weather, Enabled Last Decade’s Growth in Wind Power Plant Output
Over the past decade, the wind fleet’s average capacity factor has increased substantially. Capacity factor is the ratio of actual generation to total possible generation, where total possible generation assumes a plant generated its maximum possible output across all hours of the year. Researchers have been debating how much of the improvement should be credited to technology (new plants show improved capacity factors) versus increasing wind speeds (surface wind speeds measurements trended upward during that period). Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory took a detailed look at generation records and surface wind speed observations across the last decade. They found that technology change and plant design/siting increased capacity factors of newer plants by 25% compared to older plants, an order of magnitude larger than improvements due to increasing wind speed. See more in the open access paper in the journal Wind Energy.
Two Wind Energy Productivity Software Programs Upgraded
Two WETO-funded wind energy software programs have received important upgrades.
Sandia National Laboratories has released a new version of Numerical Manufacturing and Design, or NuMAD, a software tool for the structural design and modeling of wind turbine blades. NuMAD version 3.0 simplifies the process of creating a 3D model of a wind turbine blade and manages all blade information, including aerodynamic properties, material properties, and material placement.
The National Renewable Energy Laboratory has released FLOw Redirection and Induction in Steady State (FLORIS) Version 3.0, a major redesign and enhancement of the FLORIS wind farm controls software. Improvements include faster computation speeds, improved models of wind farm wakes and control strategies for large offshore wind farms, and the ability to model up to three different kinds of wind turbines in the same graphic with a 3D representation of varied wind speeds and directions.
Conference: Feb. 28–March 3, 2022, Arlington, VA and online
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 about distributed wind market and environmental segments, and hear updates from WETO Director, Bob Marlay on DOE’s distributed wind research program. For more information, visit the event website.
Conference: April 26–28, 2022, Atlantic City, NJ
Hosted by the Business Network for Offshore Wind, this three-day offshore wind energy conference will consist of panels and presentations that will bring together the global offshore wind industry and offer the latest in educational content. Agenda and registration details can be found on the IPF website.
Conference: May 16–18, 2022, San Antonio, TX
The American Clean Power Association’s 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. Find more information on the event website.
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.
In Case You Missed It
- WETO has released a Request for Information (RFI) to gather information on research needs related to the effects of offshore wind energy development on communities, in the context of a just clean energy transition. The RFI will inform future DOE activities and research. Responses are due March 11, 2022.
- The National Offshore Wind Research and Development Consortium released a new round in its competitive solicitation: Innovation in Offshore Wind Solicitation 2.0. Concept papers are due March 9, 2022.
- WETO’s WINDExchange initiative has released new wind resource maps to help accurately define, measure, and forecast the nation’s land-based and offshore wind resources.