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News Release: U.S. Department of Energy Celebrates New DOE 1.5 Research Wind Turbine

November 10, 2009

Boulder, Colorado – Officials from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today joined industry representatives and managers from DOE’s National Laboratories to celebrate the latest tool to advance the Department’s wind energy research: a state-of-the-art wind turbine installed at DOE’s National Wind Technology Center (NWTC), at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, near Boulder. The turbine, which is the first large-scale wind turbine fully owned by DOE, will serve as a platform for research projects aimed at improving the performance of wind technology and lowering the costs of wind energy. Previously, only smaller wind turbines were installed at the NWTC.

"As our Nation increases its reliance on clean, renewable energy, we turn again to wind, one of mankind’s oldest power sources, said Dr. Mark Handschy, Senior Advisor to DOE’s Under Secretary Kristina Johnson. "This turbine provides the Department of Energy with a research facility dedicated to understanding the fundamentals of the new uses we’re making of this trusted resource."

The 1.5-MW turbine, informally known as the “DOE 1.5,” will generate power for facilities at the NWTC and will also feed electricity back into the local grid. The celebration of the DOE 1.5 turbine gathered participants from DOE’s Wind and Hydropower Technologies Program and the national laboratories to discuss ways to utilize the turbine as a testbed for future research projects.

“This turbine provides the foundation for long-term collaborative research with our DOE, university, and industry partners,” said Fort Felker, Director of the NWTC.

DOE has invested more than $5 million since 2008 to procure and install this wind turbine, which was manufactured by GE. The turbine was delivered to the NWTC in December 2008 and installed between July and September of 2009. The Center has created a video of the installation of the turbine that shows the steps involved in installing a modern utility-scale wind turbine.

“We’re very excited that GE's 1.5-megawatt wind turbine has been selected by the DOE to participate in this important research and development program,” said Victor Abate, Vice President of Renewable Energy for GE Power & Water. “Finding ways to improve wind turbine reliability and wind forecasting methods will help ensure the continued expansion of the wind industry, resulting in economic growth and a reduction in greenhouse gases. That is a goal we share with the DOE.”

The research enabled by this turbine will help address the barriers to supplying 20% of the nation’s electricity from wind energy by 2030. Current topics of interest include power performance testing, gathering and analyzing turbine loading data, designing advanced turbine controls, developing advanced turbine components, and studying wind farm performance data.

The Wind and Hydropower Technologies Program, part of the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, leads the nation’s efforts to increase the development and deployment of reliable, affordable, and environmentally sustainable wind power technologies. See for more information.


—Heather Lammers