Wind turbines must withstand powerful aerodynamic forces unlike any other propeller-drive machines.
NREL Thinks Big at the 305-Acre
National Wind Technology Center
The site features unique test facilities and specialized computer simulation tools. A 5-megawatt (MW) dynamometer is large enough to test any land-based turbine and its mechanical and electrical power-producing systems for the foreseeable future. The Controllable Grid Interface test system is the only one in the world that is fully integrated with two dynamometers.
The Next Great Research Challenge
NREL research in power plant dynamics focuses on maximizing the efficiency and durability of large installations with dozens of turbines. Wake turbulence can degrade performance and damage adjacent turbines. NREL scientists have developed complex software models to predict the effects of this turbulence. The potential exists for a 5%-10% increase in energy capture.
NREL Partners with GE
28 gigawatts installed capacity
Wind energy resource maps developed by NREL and industry show that most U.S. states have a viable wind resource when used with modern wind technology. Globally, NREL is helping to develop high-resolution projections of wind resources.