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@NWTC Newsletter: Spring 2013 Issue

Below is the Spring 2013 issue of the @NWTC newsletter.

Project and Program Updates

Models and Tools

Recent Publications

Shedding Light on Offshore Wind Resources

View of the Chesapeake Bay light tower in the water.

The Chesapeake Bay light tower is located approximately 13 miles from the Virginia coast near the mouth of Chesapeake Bay. The top of the tower is 120 feet above the water.

Offshore wind energy can help the nation reduce its greenhouse gas emissions, diversify its energy supply, provide cost-competitive electricity to key coastal regions, and stimulate revitalization of key sectors of the economy by investing in infrastructure and creating skilled jobs. According to the National Offshore Wind Strategy published by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) in 2011, the nation's offshore wind resource could supply 54 gigawatts of generating capacity by 2030. However, to tap into that potential, more data on the nature of offshore wind resources and the ocean environment is needed. More

DOE Kicks Off Inaugural Collegiate Wind Competition

The U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE's) National Renewable Energy Laboratory recently issued a request for proposals (RFP) to participate in DOE's inaugural National Collegiate Wind Competition. Competitors will design, construct, and test a lightweight, transportable wind turbine that can be used to power small electronic devices. More

Minimal Impacts Could Mean More Deployment for Wind and Solar

The Western Wind and Solar Integration Study (WWSIS) is one of the largest regional wind and solar integration studies to date. Phase 1 (WWSIS-1), published in 2010 by the U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), was a landmark analysis of the operational impacts of high penetrations of wind and solar power on the Western Interconnection power system of the United States. In 2012, NREL completed Phase 2 (WWSIS-2) to examine new data and address concerns. More

Photo of a female bat in flight, wings spread and facing the camera.

A female hoary bat in flight.
Merlin D. Tuttle, Bat Conservation International

Photo showing part of a turbine blade locked into NREL's resonance blade test system.

NREL's resonance blade test system at the NWTC performs a blade flap fatigue test on a 50-m wind turbine blade.
Photo by David Snowberg, NREL 20449.

NREL Study Finds Barotrauma Not Guilty

For years scientists have speculated that the unexpected number of bat fatalities around wind farms is the result of barotrauma-related injuries. The barotrauma hypothesis suggests that a significant number of bat fatalities are due to internal bleeding caused by rapid changes in atmospheric pressure around operating wind turbine blades. But according to a recent National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) study that was presented at the ninth biennial Wind Wildlife Research Meeting in Denver, Colorado, November 27-30, 2012, it appears unlikely that the pressure changes around operating wind turbine blades are large enough to cause fatal barotrauma. More

NREL's Wind Technology Patents Boost Efficiency and Lower Costs

Wind energy research conducted at the National Wind Technology Center (NWTC) at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) during the last decade has earned the lab two patents, one for adaptive pitch control and one for a resonance blade test system, that will ultimately help its industry partners increase the efficiency of wind technologies and reduce the cost of wind energy. The most recent patent for adaptive pitch control for variable-speed wind turbines was granted in May 2012. More

Models and Tools

NREL's System Advisor Model: New Features, Improved Capabilities

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory's (NREL's) System Advisor Model (SAM) just got better. The latest release includes dynamic new features for modeling wind, photovoltaic, concentrating solar power, geothermal, and biopower systems. More