Skip to main content


NREL has received many awards for its technical innovations in wind energy. In addition, the research conducted at the National Wind Technology Center (NWTC) at NREL has led the development of patented state-of-the-art technologies that are available for licensing. Learn more about patents and licensing opportunities.


Research conducted at the NWTC during the last decade has earned NREL 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. Read the full story.

R&D 100 Awards

R&D Magazine annually selects 100 technologies as the most significant innovations of the preceding year. The magazine refers to these awards as the "Academy Awards of Science." The awards are prestigious and have recognized many of the most significant inventions of the past few decades. The NWTC at NREL is the proud recipient of the following two R&D 100 Awards.

2000: The NorthWind 100/20 Wind Turbine

The NorthWind 100/20 wind turbine is a state-of-the-art wind turbine designed for operation in remote, cold-climate conditions. Special features include a direct-drive design requiring no gearbox or lubricating oil, a tilt-up assembly that doesn't require a crane, and enclosed areas for turbine operation and maintenance. The NorthWind 100/20 is the only small- to moderate-size turbine available that is fully compatible with small or "weak" electrical grids. Read more about NREL's R&D 100 Award for the NorthWind 100/20 Wind Turbine.

1991: Development of Advanced Wind Turbine Blades

This award was presented to the Solar Energy Research Institute (the former name for NREL) for new wind turbine blade designs that produce up to 30% more electricity than previous designs and have become an industry standard.

Other Awards

2004 Outstanding R&D Partnership Award

Presented by the U.S. Department of Energy to the NWTC at NREL for excellence in collaborative development of innovative wind turbine technology. NREL's partnership with Southwest Windpower resulted in the development of the 1.8-kW Storm wind turbine.

2001 Research Partnership Award

Presented by the U.S. Department of Energy to the NWTC at NREL for outstanding collaboration between the scientists and engineers at the national laboratories, industry, and academics that resulted in technical advancements that significantly further our national effort to develop and support clean, competitive, reliable renewable energy for the 21st century.

1999 Engineering Excellence Award

Presented by the American Consulting Engineers Council of Colorado to NREL for the San Clemente Island wind generation system.

1998 Technical Award

Presented by the American Wind Energy Association to NREL for developing advanced dynamic analysis methods and codes for wind turbines.

1995 Technical Award

Presented by the American Wind Energy Association to NREL's NWTC in recognition of a new partnership between the wind industry and the U.S. Department of Energy designed to realize the full potential of wind energy technology.