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News Release NR-1709

NREL to Partner with RES Americas on Wind Balance-of-Plant Research

June 17, 2009

The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and Renewable Energy Systems Americas, Inc. (RES Americas) have announced a partnership to evaluate the design and performance of vital wind energy support systems. 

Under a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA), NREL and RES Americas will investigate structural loads on foundations of operating wind turbines, thermal performance of underground collection system electrical cables, and side-by-side comparisons of alternative wind speed measurement systems.  The agreement is worth almost $500,000 over the next two years.  This research is important because it will lead to increased efficiency and reduced maintenance in the non-turbine components of a wind farm which will help to lower the overall cost of wind energy.

“This CRADA will result in some of the first-ever measurements of loads inside and under the foundation of an operating wind turbine,” Jim Green, senior project lead at NREL’s National Wind Technology Center (NWTC), said.

RES Americas will contribute engineering designs needed for the foundations of two utility scale wind turbines to be installed at the NWTC this summer.

“We are excited to be collaborating with NREL on this project as it is a great opportunity to further engineer safe and environmentally friendly energy projects,” Andrew Fowler, senior vice president of engineering and construction for RES Americas, said. RES Americas is a wind energy developer that currently operates more than 3,400 megawatts of installed wind energy capacity, approximately 14 percent of total capacity in the United States.  The company has recently relocated its North American Headquarters to Broomfield, Colo., near the NWTC where the research will be conducted.

NREL is the U.S. Department of Energy's primary national laboratory for renewable energy and energy efficiency research and development. NREL is operated for DOE by The Alliance for Sustainable Energy, LLC.

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