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Read about NREL's impacts on innovations in wind energy research.

Photo of four men in hard hats standing on top of a large wind turbine overlooking several other wind turbines in the distance.

R&D 100 Awards

R&D Magazine annually selects 100 technologies as the most significant innovations of the preceding year. The magazine refers to these awards as the "Academy Awards of Science." The awards are prestigious and have recognized many of the most significant inventions of the past few decades. The National Wind Technology Center at NREL is the proud recipient of the following two R&D 100 Awards.

2000: The NorthWind 100/20 Wind Turbine

The NorthWind 100/20 wind turbine is a state-of-the-art wind turbine designed for operation in remote, cold-climate conditions. Special features include a direct-drive design requiring no gearbox or lubricating oil, a tilt-up assembly that doesn't require a crane, and enclosed areas for turbine operation and maintenance. The NorthWind 100/20 is the only small- to moderate-size turbine available that is fully compatible with small or "weak" electric grids. Read more about NREL's R&D 100 Award for the NorthWind 100/20 Wind Turbine.

1991: Development of Advanced Wind Turbine Blades

This award was presented to the Solar Energy Research Institute (the former name for NREL) for new wind turbine blade designs that produce up to 30% more electricity than previous designs. These types of designs have since become an industry standard.

Other Awards

2004 Outstanding R&D Partnership Award

This award was presented by the U.S. Department of Energy to the National Wind Technology Center at NREL for excellence in collaborative development of innovative wind turbine technology. NREL's partnership with Southwest Windpower resulted in the development of the 1.8-kilowatt Storm wind turbine.

2001 Research Partnership Award

Presented by DOE to the National Wind Technology Center at NREL for outstanding collaboration among the scientists and engineers at the national laboratories, industry, and academics that resulted in technical advancements that significantly further our national effort to develop and support clean, competitive, reliable renewable energy for the 21st century.

1999 Engineering Excellence Award

Presented by the American Consulting Engineers Council of Colorado to NREL for the San Clemente Island wind generation system.

1998 Technical Award

Presented by the American Wind Energy Association to NREL for developing advanced dynamic analysis methods and codes for wind turbines.

1995 Technical Award

Presented by the American Wind Energy Association to NREL's NWTC in recognition of a new partnership between the wind industry and DOE designed to realize the full potential of wind energy technology.