Land-Based Wind Research
NREL's land-based wind turbine research addresses performance and reliability issues that wind power plants experience throughout their life span and reduces system costs through innovative technology development.
NREL works with industry partners to design and operate more cost-effective and grid-friendly wind power plants that will enable the deployment of wind across the entire United States. From controls and reliability to full-scale field research validation, NREL's land-based wind capabilities run the gamut.
Researchers at the National Wind Technology Center design, research, and validate advanced wind power plant control systems to maximize energy production and reduce structural loads for land-based wind power plants.
Through the use of its on-site facilities, NREL simulates wind turbine drivetrains, collects and analyzes data, and performs testing of a variety of technologies and systems to improve land-based wind power plant reliability.
Design Methods, Tools, and Standards
NREL has developed and maintains robust open-source modeling tools capable of simulating a wide range of land-based wind systems. The two primary modeling efforts include computer-aided engineering tools and systems engineering tools. NREL researchers work with industry partners to conduct technical assistance, validate and verify models, and engage in collaborative research. Learn more about NREL’s wind modeling software suites: FAST v8 and WISDEM.
Energy and Economic Analysis
Land-based wind energy analysis capabilities include tracking historical technology trends and costs, evaluating and assessing future innovation opportunities, and analyzing opportunities for wind power within the electric sector of today and out to 2050.
Technology Research Validation and Certification
NREL engineers provide wind industry manufacturers, developers, and operators with turbine and component research that ensures performance and reliability.
Resource Characterization, Forecasting, and Maps
NREL produces high-resolution maps of select regions around the world that supply wind power plant developers with estimates of the wind resource potential as well as a national database called the WINDToolkit for wind integration and forecasting. NREL researchers are also advancing the science of wind measurements and observations through numerous industry partnerships.
Utility Grid Integration
NREL's grid system integration analysts work with the U.S. Department of Energy, university researchers, independent system operators, and regional transmission organizations to provide system characterization data and models that empower electric power system operators to more efficiently manage wind grid integration.
Wind Power Plant Modeling and Simulation
Engineers have worked with the industry to develop advanced high-fidelity simulation and optimization tools for wind power plant and turbine interactions with the atmosphere. These tools are capable of modeling the processes needed to predict plant interactions or produce state-of-the-art simulation and analysis capabilities that allow industry stakeholders to perform a wide variety of optimization studies to lower the cost of energy.
Learn more about modeling and simulation at NREL.
A wide variety of research and development activities are aimed at reducing the cost of energy for utility-scale, land-based plants. NREL uses computational and testing capabilities to generate novel solutions to persistent industry challenges. Industry partnerships are aimed at improving fundamental design capabilities and evaluating the performance of innovative technology solutions.
Manufacturing and Supply Chain
Analysts perform techno-economic analyses and assessments of manufacturing technologies and trends, deployment barriers, and competitiveness factors that affect the U.S. wind turbine supply chain and technology investment decisions for land-based wind power plants.
Siting Considerations and Environmental Impacts
NREL performs research and analysis on wind energy siting and permitting issues, costs, and how policies and regulations affect wind energy developers and local communities. The National Wind Technology Center also serves as a research validation site for environmental detection and deterrent technologies (e.g., for eagles and other birds of prey).
Discover the effects that wind energy technology has on wildlife and habitats with the Wind-Wildlife Impacts Literature Database.
Workforce Development and Education
NREL performs in-depth analysis on the domestic wind energy workforce and has published numerous reports on jobs and economic development from land-based wind using the Jobs and Economic Development Impacts (JEDI) model.
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Land-Based Wind Research Leads
The leads for land-based wind energy research at NREL focus on a variety of areas pertinent to the evolving wind energy industry, including modeling and simulation, technology research validation and certification, and controls and reliability.