Wind Energy Foundation Research
IEDC Study: Understanding Renewable Energy Businesses
The Wind Energy Foundation is co-sponsoring a study with The Solar Foundation and the Energy Foundation to help the economic development community understand how best to support the growth of renewable energy sectors. The study is being conducted by the International Economic Development Council and will be posted when it is available.
U.S. DOE Wind Program
The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Wind Program sponsors research designed to improve the performance, lower the costs, and accelerate the deployment of wind power technologies. For example, the program’s research efforts have helped to increase the average capacity factor from 22% for wind turbines installed before 1998 to 35% for turbines installed between 2004 and 2007. Wind energy costs have been reduced from about 80 cents (current dollars) per kilowatt-hour (kWh) in 1980 to between five and eight cents per kWh today. Research is focused in the following areas: large wind technology, offshore wind research and development, distributed wind, testing and certification, wind manufacturing and supply chain, resource assessment and characterization, renewable systems integration, environmental impacts and siting of wind projects, and workforce development and education.
As part of its research efforts, the DOE Wind Program, in close cooperation with the wind industry, has launched a new Wind Vision initiative to revisit the findings of the 2008 DOE 20% Wind Energy by 2030 report and to develop a renewed vision for U.S. wind power research, development, and deployment. Included in this effort will be:
- A characterization of industry progress and how recent developments and trends impact the 2008 conclusions
- A discussion of the costs and benefits to the nation arising from more wind power
- A roadmap addressing the challenges to achieving high levels of wind within a sustainable national energy mix.
Various national laboratories, such as the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), conduct research that supports the DOE’s Wind Program. At NREL’s National Wind Technology Center in Boulder, Colorado, researchers work to improve windplant power production, reduce windplant capital cost, improve windplant reliability, lower O&M cost and eliminate barriers to large-scale deployment. NREL’s research capabilities include design review and analysis, computer-aided engineering tools, systems engineering, controls analysis, testing, utility grid integration assessment, and wind resource assessment.
Other U.S. laboratories conducting wind energy research include Ames Laboratory, Argonne National Laboratory, Brookhaven National Laboratory, Idaho National Laboratory, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Oakridge National Laboratory, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory,Sandia National Laboratories and Savannah River National Laboratory.
In July 2013, Texas Tech and partners (the U.S. Department of Energy, Sandia National Laboratories, and Vestas) broke ground on a new Scaled Wind Farm Technology (SWIFT) facility. The facility will allow investigations of turbine-to-turbine interactions, new rotor technologies, aeroacoustics, and structural health monitoring of turbines using embedded sensor systems.
The DOE’s Wind Program also participates in the International Energy Agency (IEA) Wind Energy Executive Committee, which supports international wind energy research efforts in 10 areas. The program’s participation in these international research efforts provides U.S. researchers an opportunity to collaborate with international experts in wind energy, exchange recent technical and market information, and gain valuable feedback for the U.S. industry.
This fact sheet provides a brief description of the wind energy market and describes the U.S. Department of Energy’s Wind Program research and development efforts.
Turbines used in distributed applications cumulatively produce 842 megawatts, enough electricity to power 120,000 homes. In 2013, Texas, Minnesota, and Iowa retained their lead as the top three states with the most distributed wind capacity since 2003. The Pacific Northwest National Laboratory authors this annual report.
The U.S. Department of Energy’s 2013 Wind Technologies Market Report provides a comprehensive overview of 2013 trends in the U.S. wind industry and wind power market. Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory authors this annual report, drawing from a variety of data sources.