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@NWTC Newsletter

@NWTC is a quarterly newsletter from the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE's) National Wind Technology Center (NTWC) at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL).

The vision of the National Wind Technology Center (NWTC) is to be an essential partner for the technical development and deployment of wind and water power. This newsletter provides information about the NWTC's research and development projects, its accomplishments, upcoming events, and recent publications.

Fall 2013 Issue

Project and Program Updates

Models and Tools

Recent Publications

Illustration of a next-generation drivetrain. The image reveals the three major components.

The new drivetrain applies a system approach to improve all three major components: a single-stage gearbox, a medium-speed permanent-magnet generator, and a high-efficiency power converter. Illustration by Josh Bauer, NREL

Photo showing three 5-megawatt wind turbines installed above the water at the Alpha Ventus Offshore Wind Farm in Germany. A boat is moving forward to the left of the turbines.

REpower 5-megawatt wind turbines at the Alpha Ventus Offshore Wind Farm in Germany demonstrate the possibilities for offshore wind on a grand scale—and now new offshore wind opportunities are coming to the United States. Photo by Gary Norton, NREL 27363

Photo of Brian Smith, Dave Simms, and Stever Sawyer atop a turbine at the NWTC. The men are holding onto the railings and wearing hardhats, with partial turbine blades and clouds in the background.

Left to right: NWTC Lab Program Manager Brian Smith, NWTC Testing and Operations Group Manager Dave Simms, and GWEC Secretary General Steve Sawyer stand atop one of the NWTC's research turbines. Photo by Lee Jay Fingersh, NREL 26750

Project and Program Updates

NWTC and Industry Partners Design a Leading-Edge Drivetrain

The National Wind Technology Center (NWTC) at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL)—along with CREE, DNV KEMA, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, GE Wind, Romax Technology, and Vattenfall Windpower—are developing an innovative, medium-speed, medium-voltage wind turbine drivetrain design. Tapping into unparalleled expertise, the team created a drivetrain that can increase reliability, decrease mass, improve efficiency, and reduce the cost of wind energy. More

NREL Analysis Enables BOEM to Hold Its First Commercial Offshore Lease Sale in the United States

When the U.S. Department of the Interior's Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) needed a process to delineate the bureau's proposed offshore Wind Energy Areas (WEAs) into auctionable leasing areas, the agency turned to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). Under an interagency agreement, wind energy experts from NREL helped develop a process to evaluate BOEM's designated offshore WEAs in terms of energy production, resource, water depth, and other physical criteria and delineate specific WEAs into two or more leasing areas. More

NREL and EPRI Actively Embrace Active Power Control Systems for Wind Power

The Second Workshop on Active Power Control (APC) cohosted by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) in Broomfield, Colorado, last May drew more than 60 industry experts from around the world to participate in a comprehensive discussion about the need for and impacts of active power controls from wind plants. More

Global Wind Ambassador Visits the National Wind Technology Center

Steve Sawyer has been a pillar of the environment and energy field since 1978, with a focus on climate change and renewable energy since 1988. His awareness of the cost of energy and its impacts began when he was 16. By perusing the family utility bill, Sawyer started to question certain charges requiring ratepayers to help pay for a new power plant in a neighboring town. It was that inquisitiveness—and ongoing concern for the environment—that would lead him to one day become a global ambassador for the renewable wind energy industry. More

NREL Researchers Assess Where to Gear Up U.S. Manufacturing and Supply Chain Capabilities for Advanced Drivetrain Technologies

The drivetrain of a wind turbine converts the power of the wind into electrical energy. Now, innovative technologies—such as medium-voltage and permanent-magnet generators, silicon-carbide (SiC) switches, and high-torque-density speed increasers—have the potential to improve the capacity and operating reliability of conventional drivetrains. Yet, these new configurations may be more advanced than what today's manufacturing and supply chain processes can handle. More

Models and Tools

New NREL Modeling Tool Estimates Economic Benefits of Offshore Wind Plants

To help developers more readily estimate the economic benefits of offshore wind plants, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) recently released a new version of the Jobs and Economic Development Impact (JEDI) modeling tool. The original tool was developed to estimate the economic impacts of constructing renewable power plants. The updated version allows users to better understand the potential regional economic impacts of offshore wind development. More