New DOE Owned 1.5 MW Research Wind Turbine

U.S. Department of Energy's research wind energy under construction
Assembling the DOE’s research wind turbine.

Officials from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today joined industry representatives and managers from DOE’s national laboratories to celebrate the latest tool to advance the Department’s wind energy research: a state-of-the-art wind turbine installed at DOE’s National Wind Technology Center (NWTC) near Boulder. The turbine, which is the first large-scale wind turbine fully owned by DOE, will serve as a platform for research projects aimed at improving the performance of wind technology and lowering the costs of wind energy. Previously, only smaller wind turbines were installed at the NWTC.

The 1.5-MW turbine, informally known as the “DOE 1.5,” will generate power for facilities at the NWTC and will also feed electricity back into the local grid. The celebration of the DOE 1.5 turbine gathered participants from DOE’s Wind and Hydropower Technologies Program and the national laboratories to discuss ways to utilize the turbine as a testbed for future research projects.

DOE has invested more than $5 million since 2008 to procure and install this wind turbine, which was manufactured by GE. The turbine was delivered to the NWTC in December 2008 and installed between July and September of 2009. The Center has created a video of the installation of the turbine that shows the steps involved in installing a modern utility-scale wind turbine.

The research enabled by this turbine will help address the barriers to supplying 20% of the nation’s electricity from wind energy by 2030. Current topics of interest include power performance testing, gathering and analyzing turbine loading data, designing advanced turbine controls, developing advanced turbine components, and studying wind farm performance data.

The Wind and Hydropower Technologies Program, part of the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, leads the nation’s efforts to increase the development and deployment of reliable, affordable, and environmentally sustainable wind power technologies. See the Wind and Hydropower Technology Program’s Web site for more information.

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