National Wind Technology Center
Source: National Renewable Energy Laboratory
Date: 1/1/95    Record No.: 10091
Contact: Robert Thresher, 303-384-6922; Susan Hock, 303-384-6950; Gerry Nix, 303-384-6925

National Wind Technology Center
NREL is the lead lab in DOE for Wind Technology. Staff numbers 45, and of the $30 million annual budget, 70% goes on through to developers, utilities and universities for R&D, demos, etc. Currently the focus is on both R&D and performance. In the past NREL designed a specialized air-foil to handle wind gusts, and the patent is licensed for very nominal fees to all U.S. manufacturers. The program agenda over the next few years includes: advanced structural codes, high fatigue-tolerant rotors, and high flexibility blades.

Doing away with the gearbox was a major goal of the wind community. While U.S. Windpower pursued its own approach and is near commercial with its 33MVS model, NREL and EPRI and a number of other companies are working on the next generation of direct drive/VSD wind generators. The mission is to help industry improve its competitive position, and help utilities deploy wind facilities. The Advanced Wind Turbine Program (AWT) is designed both to provide near-term alternatives and to help manufacturers incorporate new technology into commercial designs over the next 5 - 10 years.

The recently opened NWTC, some distance from NREL on a high windy plain, will be completed in 1996, and will include outdoor test facilities and indoor high bay laboratory for fatigue and strength testing of components.

Utilities should go to NREL for help with implementation of wind power, and for independent review and certification test of hardware. (DU, Distributed Utility)