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Land-Based Wind Turbine Research

NREL's land-based wind turbine research addresses performance and reliability issues that wind power plants experience throughout their life span and reduces system costs through innovative technology development.

A photo of two large wind turbines in a green field with a farm and silo next to the turbines.

Capabilities

NREL works with industry partners to design and operate more cost-effective and grid-friendly wind power plants that will enable the deployment of wind across the entire United States. From controls and reliability to full-scale field testing, NREL's land-based wind capabilities run the gamut.

A photo of a green and brown field of multiple wind turbines in the foreground and background.

Controls

Researchers at the National Wind Technology Center design and test advanced wind power plant control systems to maximize energy production and reduce structural loads for land-based wind power plants.

A photo of two men looking at a wind turbine drivetrain in a testing facility.

Reliability

Through the use of its on-site facilities, NREL simulates wind turbine drivetrains, collects and analyzes data, and performs testing of a variety of technologies and systems to improve land-based wind power plant reliability.

A photo of two men in an office looking at a land-based wind turbine model with a computer monitor in the background displaying FAST data.

Design Methods, Tools, and Standards

NREL has developed and maintains a robust open-source modeling tool called OpenFAST that is capable of simulating a wide range of wind energy systems. NREL researchers work with industry partners to conduct technical assistance and collaborative research and are actively involved with the development of international standards.

An aerial photo of five land-based wind turbines in a green field.

Energy and Economic Analysis

Land-based wind energy analysis capabilities include tracking historical technology trends and costs, evaluating and assessing future innovation opportunities, and analyzing opportunities for wind power within the electric sector of today and out to 2050.

A photo of a gear mechanism attached to a wind turbine with a person's hand on one of the blades.

Technology Testing and Certification

NREL engineers provide wind industry manufacturers, developers, and operators with turbine and component testing that ensures performance and reliability.

A map of the United States colored to identify annual average wind speed at 80 meters.

Resource Characterization, Forecasting, and Maps

NREL produces high-resolution maps of select regions around the world that supply wind power plant developers with estimates of the wind resource potential as well as a national database called the WINDToolkit for wind integration and forecasting. NREL researchers are also advancing the science of wind measurements and observations through numerous industry partnerships.

A photo of a transmission power line in a brown field with wind turbines in the background.

Utility Grid Integration

NREL's grid system integration analysts work with the U.S. Department of Energy, university researchers, independent system operators, and regional transmission organizations to provide system characterization data and models that empower electric power system operators to more efficiently manage wind grid integration.

A photo of two men standing in front of a large, three three-dimensional rendering with yellow and blue lines coming from a wind turbine.

Wind Power Plant Modeling and Simulation

Engineers have worked with the industry to develop advanced high-fidelity simulation and optimization tools for wind power plant and turbine interactions with the atmosphere. These tools are capable of modeling the processes needed to predict plant interactions or produce state-of-the-art simulation and analysis capabilities that allow industry stakeholders to perform a wide variety of optimization studies to lower the cost of energy.

Learn more about modeling and simulation at NREL.

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Technology Development

A wide variety of research and development activities are aimed at reducing the cost of energy for utility-scale, land-based plants. NREL uses computational and testing capabilities to generate novel solutions to persistent industry challenges. Industry partnerships are aimed at improving fundamental design capabilities and evaluating the performance of innovative technology solutions.

A photo of numerous wind turbine blades stacked on their sides in a large parking lot ready for shipment.

Manufacturing and Supply Chain

Analysts perform techno-economic analyses and assessments of manufacturing technologies and trends, deployment barriers, and competitiveness factors that affect the U.S. wind turbine supply chain and technology investment decisions for land-based wind power plants.

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Siting Considerations and Environmental Impacts

NREL performs research and analysis on wind energy siting and permitting issues, costs, and how policies and regulations affect wind energy developers and local communities. The National Wind Technology Center also serves as a test site for environmental detection and deterrent technologies (e.g., for eagles and other birds of prey).

Discover the effects that wind energy technology has on wildlife and habitats with the Wind-Wildlife Impacts Literature Database.

A photo of several people in safety vests and hardhats standing near a land-based wind turbine shaft with its blades on the ground in the background.

Workforce Development and Education

NREL performs in-depth analysis on the domestic wind energy workforce and has published numerous reports on jobs and economic development from land-based wind using the Jobs and Economic Development Impacts (JEDI) model.

Learn more about land-based wind turbine research.

Contact Us

Land-Based Wind Research Leads

The leads for land-based wind energy research at NREL focus on a variety of areas pertinent to the evolving wind energy industry, including modeling and simulation, technology testing and certification, and controls and reliability.

Photo of Pat Moriarty

Pat Moriarty

Manager, Engineering

Photo of Paul Veers

Paul Veers

Chief Engineer, Wind

Jason Cotrell

Manager, Innovation and Reliability