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NREL Announces New Distributed Wind Competitiveness Improvement Project Contracts

November 1, 2017

A distributed wind turbine on a snowy mountain.

Distributed wind, like this Northern Power Systems wind turbine at the top of Vermont's Burke Mountain, provides wind energy to residential, commercial, and remote locations. Photo by Jacqueline Adamson, Northern Power Systems / NREL 26785

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) recently announced six new contracts for Round 5 of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)-funded Distributed Wind Competitiveness Improvement Project (CIP). Totaling $1.5 million in funding, these awards are designed to support small- and medium-sized wind turbine systems that are cost-competitive with other distributed generation technologies.

Over the past 4 years, DOE has invested more than $5 million in cost-shared contracts to 12 different manufacturers and component suppliers. These annual solicitations allow distributed wind manufacturers to compete for cost-shared contracts, which allow them to increase turbine performance, optimize designs, develop new manufacturing processes, or certify system performance. Successes include new small wind turbine designs, quieter and more efficient rotors, injection-molded carbon fiber blades, and power inverters optimized for distributed wind systems.

CIP Round 5 contract awardees are:

  • Bergey Windpower Company of Norman, Oklahoma, will develop a standardized 30-meter self-supporting lattice tower and improve other design elements of its small wind turbine
  • Intergrid of Temple, New Hampshire, will integrate and certify the electrical and control components required for a complete wind turbine installation into a "one-box" approach
  • Northern Power Systems of Barre, Vermont, will expand the rotor design of its flagship NPS 100 wind turbine system from 24 to 32 meters in diameter
  • SonSight Wind of Grayson, Georgia, will conduct prototype testing of its low-wind-speed 3-kilowatt wind turbine design, with a focus on improving power performance and optimizing its advanced furling design
  • Star Wind Turbines LLC of East Dorset, Vermont, will test its six-bladed, 10-kilowatt wind turbine system design to national performance and safety standards
  • Xzeres Wind Corp of Portland, Oregon, will increase performance and integration by engineering a microgrid-compatible turbine controller with emerging distributed energy resource technologies.

On October 12, NREL announced its intention to conduct Round 6 of the CIP. The NREL CIP team will host a CIP workshop and webinar at the National Wind Technology Center on December 6. During this event, experts from the National Wind Technology Center will present and answer questions on solicitation topics and administrative requirements, review past proposal merit criteria, provide an overview of design review requirements, and discuss wind turbine certification requirements.