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Regional Test Centers

To increase the availability of small wind turbine testing and share field expertise, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and NREL initiated the Regional Test Center (RTC) project in 2009. DOE and NREL are subsidizing the certification testing of two small wind turbines at each RTC. In addition, NREL is providing technical assistance as needed during the testing process. The project goal is for the RTCs to be self-sustaining, independent entities that are capable of providing certification testing services to the small wind turbine industry.

NREL's RTC partners are:

  • Windward Engineering (Spanish Fork, Utah)
  • Kansas State University/Colby Community College (Colby, Kansas)
  • Intertek (Otisco, New York)

As part of the RTC project, all test reports will be placed on publically available websites. Links to the test reports will be posted as they are completed.

Background

A 2006 survey of small wind stakeholders revealed a need for both small wind certification and testing for small wind turbine certification beyond what was available at the National Wind Technology Center (NWTC) at NREL. Certification enables consumers to make informed apples-to-apples comparisons so that they can select quality turbines. Certification also provides the data needed to objectively determine turbine eligibility for state incentive funds.

Since 2006, the following activities have taken place:

  • Release of the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) Small Wind Turbine Performance and Safety Standard
  • The Small Wind Certification Council (SWCC) and Intertek offer small wind certification services
  • The Interstate Turbine Advisory Council (ITAC) begins efforts to harmonize incentive fund eligibility requirements for small wind turbines across multiple states.

Current Regional Test Center Testing Status

Regional Test Center Turbines Test Reports
Intertek (Otisco, New York) WTIC Jacobs 21-20 [20 kilowatts (kW)] Available on the Intertek website
Fortis Montana (5 kW)
Windward Engineering (Spanish Fork, Utah) Endurance S-343 (5 kW) Pending spring 2013
Windspire Windspire (1.2 kW)
Kansas State University/Colby Community College (Colby, Kansas) Pending Pending 2014
Pending

Small Wind Turbine Testing Workshops

Since 2008, NREL has helped organize a series of annual small wind turbine testing workshops as part of its outreach to the broader small wind turbine testing community. Originally held at the NWTC, recent workshops have been planned and hosted by various RTC partners. Some workshops have also been coordinated with the International Energy Agency (IEA) to create a forum, known as the Small Wind Association of Testers (SWAT), for testing entities in different countries to exchange information and best practices.

Workshop topics have included:

  • International Electrotechnical Commission standards for certification and testing of small wind turbines
  • AWEA standard for small wind turbine safety and performance
  • Test-site selection, development, and assessment
  • Small wind turbine test procedures
  • Independent test project results
  • Lessons learned in siting and testing
  • Data acquisition systems
  • Data collection, processing, and analysis
  • Acoustic noise emissions testing
  • Small turbine testing updates from other countries.

Previous Small Wind Association of Testers Workshop Proceedings

Year Location Host or Organizer Notes
2008 NWTC (Boulder, Colorado) NREL Regional Test Centers: Workshop Presentations
2009 NWTC (Boulder, Colorado) NREL  
2010 NWTC (Boulder, Colorado) NREL  
2011 Canyon, Texas AEI/West Texas A&M First U.S. SWAT conference
2012 Ithaca, New York Intertek Presentations from the first international SWAT conference

For more information about the Regional Test Centers, contact Tony Jimenez.