National Wind Technology Center Video (Text Version)
This is the text version for the National Wind Technology Center video.
The video opens with spinning blades of wind turbines and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory logo. It then cuts to images of windmills turning on farms. The video cuts in between shots of wind turbines and face-to-face interviews of scientists from NREL's National Wind Technology Center.
It is a pure, plentiful natural resource.
Jim Johnson, Senior Engineer: "Right now, wind is in high demand."
And it holds the potential to transform the way we power our homes and businesses.
Fort Felker, National Wind Technology Center Director: "It's changing the way power is being made in the country. It's really having an impact."
The National Renewable Energy Laboratory is at the forefront of wind energy research and development. NREL's National Wind Technology Center near Boulder, Colorado is a world-class facility dedicated to accelerating and deploying wind technology.
The video shows the National Wind Technology Center, with several wind turbines of different sizes turning on the plains in front of the mountains.
Fort Felker: "It's great to be working in a job and surrounded by people who are passionate and know that what they're doing is making the world a better place."
And NREL is leading by example. A one megawatt photovoltaic array compliments the turbines to off-set the site's power consumption.
Hundreds of solar panels are set up in a large array. Wind turbines turn in the distance.
Fort Felker: "At this point, the Wind Center generates over half of the entire energy needs for all of NREL. On a day when it's windy and sunny, we're putting a lot of power on the local utility grid."
The National Wind Technology Center is located where wind funneled through Eldorado Canyon spills onto the plains—an ideal test site.
Jim Green, Senior Project Leader: "We'll have many days in the winter with winds over 50, 60 miles an hour, and a handful of days with winds of 90, 100 miles an hour. That makes it really an excellent site for understanding the full range of operating conditions these wind turbines have to withstand."
The extreme conditions here allow NREL and its industry partners to ensure these machines deliver in any environment. They're testing a range of turbines, from smaller, residential sizes to the Siemens' utility-scale, 2.3 megawatt machine.
Fort Felker: "Which is a real giant. It has a rotor diameter of over 100 meters."
This wind turbine is one of the largest now operating in the United States. It's providing critical information on aerodynamics and load capabilities, and it's one of two massive new turbines added to the site in 2009. The second is a General Electric 1.5 megawatt machine—owned by the Department of Energy.
Walt Musial, Senior Engineer: "Every time I try to guess where the maximum size of a machine will be, I'm always wrong. It keeps growing and growing."
The towers are taller to tap into the higher winds at greater altitudes. These machines are more powerful. They produce more energy and they have to perform.
Fort Felker: "Although it looks like the machines are operating at a graceful, steady pace, the reality of the wind environment that they're having to endure is quite turbulent and very unsteady."
The video changes to the Dynamometer Testing Facility, a large, open building. Pieces of drive trains spin while scientists research.
Walt Musial: "This is the control room for the Dynamometer Testing Facility."
This is the world's first test facility for wind turbine drive trains.
Jim Johnson: "So, we're simulating the wind mechanically."
A controlled laboratory environment where industry partners evaluate their prototypes.
Jim Johnson: "What's neat about that is that we don't have to wait for the wind to blow or we don't have to wait for the right conditions to be able to do the testing."
To create energy, the wind turns the blades, which rotate the shaft. The gearbox in the drivetrain then converts that wind into power.
Walt Musial: "The drive-train consists of this main shaft, the gearbox, the generator and then, the system that converts that electricity back onto the grid."
Each component must function flawlessly.
Jim Johnson: "This is what we call the Industrial User Facility. It's designed to be able to do wind turbine blade testing."
Inside the Industrial User Facility, wind turbine blades are shaken and flexed.
The turbine blades are also put through punishing trials. They are bent.
Jim Johnson: "The tip is nearly touching the floor and almost touching the ceiling when it's deflecting."
Fort Felker: "We test those both for static strength and for fatigue strength."
Here, the twenty-year lifespan of a turbine is tested in months.
Jim Johnson: "We're one of maybe four or five labs in the world that can do this, and the only one in the United States."
The National Wind Technology Center is a global resource for making sure these machines are reliable, then helping move them to the marketplace.
Fort Felker: "Right now, wind is the technology that's being deployed at a scale that's really making a difference in our nation's power generation."
Wind makes up 3% of all power generated in this country and rising. The goal is 20% by the year 2030. We're on-track to meet that goal five years ahead of schedule.
The next frontier is offshore. It's already a reality in Europe.
The video shows an offshore wind farm, with several turbines spinning over the ocean.
Walt Musial: "When we look at the potential for offshore, it's enormous."
Jim Johnson: "There's so much available wind resource there, there's more than enough to supply electricity for the country."
28 states border a coast.
Walt Musial: "Inside those 28 states, we use 78% of the electricity in the nation."
Fort Felker: "You can potentially site the wind turbines off-shore, so they don't create a visual impact but are still close enough that the transmission problem is greatly alleviated."
The video ends with images of fields, with flowers and grasses bending in the wind. They pan out slowly to wind farms and the wind turbines at the National Wind Technology Center.
Wind is an essential element in shaping a secure, sustainable energy future. Wind turbines throughout the United States are generating new revenues for land owners and boosting local economies.
Fort Felker: "They're bringing jobs. They're bringing good jobs, sustainable jobs."
The National Wind Technology Center is developing and delivering the advancements to optimize wind energy production, minimize impacts on wildlife, and provide it at an affordable cost.
Robert Thresher, Research Fellow: "The goal is really to make wind-generated electricity kind of the cheapest form of energy on the planet."
Fort Felker: "Right now, wind energy is pretty competitive with conventional sources. But if we can continue to lower the cost of wind energy, we'll get to the situation where it could potentially be the lowest-cost source of energy in the nation and that will be transformative."
Wind. It is power and progress. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory is innovating the clean technologies to forever change our energy landscape.
Robert Thresher: "It's really a great challenge, been a great challenge, and it's a great joy to see it going out and being used."