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Offshore Wind Dreams Big (Text Version)

The video “Offshore Wind Dreams Big” describes a new reference turbine for use by the offshore wind industry.

We are working on a new reference turbine. We call it the International Energy Agency Wind Technology Collaboration Programme 15-megawatt Reference Turbine.

Front shot of Senior NREL Research Engineer Garret Barter speaking with a Flatirons Campus backdrop.

A reference turbine is a completely open and benchmark design for researchers and academics and other industry collaborators to take as a starting point for future technology exploration projects. 

Front shot of NREL Post-Doc Researcher Evan Gaertner Barter speaking with a Flatirons Campus backdrop.

The way this becomes useful for different research projects is if someone has a narrow focus they can apply their specific technology or application to the reference turbine.

Offshore wind turbines have been growing rapidly over recent years. They have eclipsed their current slate of reference wind turbines in terms of their size and utility, so we needed a new reference turbine that kind of leaps ahead of where the products of industry are rolling out today, but not so far ahead that you would need some sort of advanced technology to get there.

Aerial shot of a 3-D model of a 15 megawatt reference turbine in the ocean with a sunset in the background.

It is 15 megawatts in power rating, has about 150 meters of a hub height, and a rotor diameter of 240 meters. It also features both a fixed-bottom monopile support and a floating semi-submersible support.

Front shot of NREL Post-Doc Researcher Evan Gaertner Barter speaking with a Flatirons Campus backdrop.

We are releasing detailed documentation of the design as well as models to be used by different simulation and design packages. So, if you have a particular technology you're interested in studying, then the entire turbine design is available to apply that to. 

A series of quick-cuts between various shots of people collaborating and working on turbine construction.

We are hosting it on GitHub as an open-source software project and we invite the community to contribute back to the project with their innovations and other designs that they grow on top of our baseline design. 

Front shot of NREL Post-Doc Researcher Evan Gaertner Barter speaking with a Flatirons Campus backdrop.

The most exciting thing about this reference turbine from my perspective is it represents the future of offshore wind in the United States. So far the United States has really lagged behind Europe in particular and it's very exciting to see that offshore wind is starting to be developed in the United States.

Video closes with the NREL logo and URL: bit.ly/15-MW-Reference-Turbine