The Leading Edge: June 2024 Wind Energy Newsletter

In this issue, NREL highlights new research reports on blade recycling, offshore wind, webinar recaps, and more.

Upwind: Featured News

New Resources Offer Guidance for Wind Energy Industry To Attract Workers to Rapidly Growing Workforce

Multiple wind turbine blades transported on a train
Wind energy needs to grow its workforce for everything from designing and manufacturing transportable components, like wind turbine blades, to jobs on offshore wind farms. Industry is working with researchers, academia, and government to build that workforce. Photo by Dennis Schroeder, NREL 

Wind energy jobs are coming—and fast. But can the wind energy industry’s workforce keep up? That’s what NREL’s experts are working to find out. The lab’s researchers partner with industry to both understand workforce barriers and offer strategies to overcome them. And recently, the lab’s experts published several WINDExchange resources that offer guidance on how to approach some of the industry’s most challenging barriers, including hiring more diverse workers, supporting manufacturing and supply chain jobs, and adopting safety standards and training. Supported by these new resources, the wind energy industry can build the workforce it needs to help the country fully decarbonize by 2050.

New Roadmap Could Help Offshore Wind Energy Industry Improve Wind Turbine Reliability and Reduce Costs

Platform in ocean building offshore wind turbine
Vole Au Vent (installation boat) is installing the final blade on the first wind turbine. The support vessel requests that nonproject vessel traffic stay out of the active construction area. Photo from Lyfted Media for Dominion Energy

Offshore wind energy is growing rapidly in the United States. As the country plans to install more offshore wind turbines, the industry needs to better understand how to both operate and maintain these technologies.

Through a project funded by the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Wind Energy Technologies Office (WETO), a team of researchers from NREL and Sandia National Laboratories published a new DOE roadmap that could help ensure these offshore wind plants are both reliable and cost-effective. The authors explore the offshore wind energy industry’s current operations and maintenance challenges (especially as related to U.S.-specific factors such as climate and workforce) and identify potential technological solutions that could help the industry overcome those challenges.

Behind the Blades

Behind the Blades: How Lanaia Carveth Keeps the Gears Turning

Lanaia Carveth in front of two wind turbines

Meet Lanaia Carveth, who transferred her experience as an environmental planner and inspector in the construction industry to a new career as a wind energy project manager at NREL. Image by Dominique Barnes, NREL

NREL’s world-class wind energy researchers conduct pioneering research thanks, in part, to support from project managers like Lanaia Carveth, who keeps the work on schedule and on budget.

Carveth helps manage projects primarily in NREL’s wind systems integration portfolio. She oversees budgets, builds project timelines, coordinates meetings, and handles subcontracting and reporting—all of which frees up NREL researchers to conduct research that helps take wind energy technology to new heights.

Read the full interview with Lanaia Carveth to learn how she transitioned from a career as a consultant in the construction industry to her current role, a few of her proudest NREL accomplishments, and the projects she’s really excited about right now.

On the Radar: Project Updates

U.S. Department of Energy’s Patrick Gilman Elected New Chair of International Energy Agency Wind Technology Collaboration Programme

Newsletter report cover of a group of people standing on steps outside of a building in Bari, Italy
The International Energy Agency Wind Technology Collaboration Programme Executive Committee met in Bari, Italy, featured 70+ participants worldwide, and reviewed 25 tasks during that time.

This May, Patrick Gilman, the WETO program manager for modeling and analysis, was elected the new chair of International Energy Agency Wind Technology Collaboration Programme. Since its foundation in 1977, the International Energy Agency Wind Technology Collaboration Programme organization has fostered international collaboration to help advance wind energy research, development, and deployment. Gilman took over for Stephan Barth, the managing director at ForWind (a center for wind energy research). Barth chaired the International Energy Agency Wind Technology Collaboration Programme for three years and, in a LinkedIn post celebrating the leadership change, said that Gilman’s “excellent management skills, his razor-sharp mind, his outstanding expertise in energy and his open and friendly personality make him the ideal chair.”

What Is Wind Energy Equity? New Study Helps Find the Answer

NREL researchers just concluded a four-stage project to better understand what wind energy equity means to both experts and communities. Wind energy equity has yet to be properly defined and quantified. Through the Wind Energy Equity Engagement Series, the project team aimed to correct this gap. The team just completed the final stage—listening sessions held in three U.S. communities—and published a report summarizing each group’s distinct perspectives on wind energy equity as well as several key themes. Although more research needs to be done, this work could help future wind energy developers incorporate wind energy equity into their projects.

Downwind: In Case You Missed It

NREL Wind's Biggest Accomplishments to Date

Wind 2024 MidYear Report Cover

Last month, NREL released its Wind Energy Accomplishments and Midyear Performance Report Fiscal Year 2024, which showcases the wind energy program’s major accomplishments from October to March. These achievements have helped propel wind energy research and the industry forward, so the country can fulfill growing demand for wind energy development and meet its clean energy goals.

Webinar Discusses What To Do With Aging Wind Turbines

As U.S. wind energy projects age, project owners and operators, state and local decision makers, and local communities must decide what to do when a plant reaches the end of its expected use. In a recent WINDExchange webinar, NREL experts introduced options for Wind Exchange’s end-of-service processes, which include decommissioning and repowering (meaning, refurbishing or replacing older equipment, so the project can remain in operation). This webinar also introduced recycling methods for wind project components and discussed the state of the recycling industry. In addition, the panelists discussed the potential impact of each of those processes on specific groups, including communities, landowners, and members of the wind energy industry. Missed the webinar? Don’t worry—you can access a recording on the WINDExchange website. If you’d like to learn more, visit the WindExchange end-of-service guide.

Catch up on NREL’s 22-Megawatt Reference Wind Turbine

Researchers from NREL, Technical University of Denmark Wind, and Det Norske Veritas recently hosted a webinar on YouTube to unveil a new 22-megawatt reference wind turbine. The turbine, which has a rotor diameter of 284 meters and a hub height of 170 meters, was developed in partnership between Denmark Wind and NREL through the International Energy Agency Wind Technology Collaboration Programme Task 55 along with support from industry and research collaborators. During the webinar, the expert panelists discussed the specifics of the wind turbine design and key technological considerations surrounding such large machines.

Training Explores Environmental Regulations and Wind Energy

NREL and the Renewable Energy Wildlife Institute conducted a 4-day virtual wind energy and wildlife training in late May. The training addresses wind energy deployment, environmental research, and state and federal regulations related to wind energy and wildlife interactions with a focus on Colorado, New Mexico, Texas, Utah, and Wyoming. The training was supported by WETO.

Upcoming Events, News Mentions, Recent Publications

Upcoming Events

2024 Sandia Blade Workshop
Sept. 16–20, 2024, Albuquerque, New Mexico

This workshop brings together wind industry experts, wind power plant stakeholders and operators, manufacturers, and researchers to network, address the major topics for wind turbine blades, and identify future technology pathways.

American Floating Offshore Wind Technical Summit
Sept. 24–25, 2024, Portland, Maine

Join leading experts at the American Floating Offshore Wind Technical Summit to address the drivers and challenges of developing the offshore wind industry in Maine and other Northeast states.

North American Wind Energy Academy/WindTech 2024 Conference
Oct. 30–Nov. 1, 2024, New Brunswick, New Jersey

The North American Wind Energy Academy/Wind Tech 2024 conference is taking place at the Hyatt Regency in New Brunswick, New Jersey, this fall. The event will feature software workshops, a graduate student symposium, and more than 20 scientific tracks.

News Mentions

‘Moderate’ is the New ‘Extreme’: Weather’s Impact on Growing Renewable Grid Options, Tech Explore, June 13, 2024

Redefining Extreme Weather: Ensuring Grid Reliability in a Renewable Energy Future, Solar Quarter, June 13, 2024

Why Americans Should Go Big on Offshore Wind, Environment America, June 11, 2024

Winds of (Climate) Change, Boulder Weekly, June 11, 2024

University of Colorado Boulder Grads Place Second in Nationwide U.S. Department of Energy Competition, Daily Camera, June 11, 2024

Environmental Review of Central Atlantic Offshore Wind Lease Area Completed, Environment America, June 10, 2024

Sorting Fact From Renewable Fiction: Handy Resources for Debunking Solar and Wind Myths, Renew Economy, June 6, 2024

On Rotation, Foresight Climate & Energy, May 30, 2024

Recent Publications

Modeling and Validation

Going Beyond Blade Element Momentum With Blade Element Momentum: An Insight Into Dynamic Inflow Effects on Floating Wind Turbines, Wind Energy Science (2024)

Towards Exascale for Wind Energy Simulations, International Journal of High Performance Computing Applications (2024)

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