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Wind Energy Science Leadership Series

The Wind Energy Science Leadership Series is an ongoing series of educational webinars that includes presentations and discussions on wind energy-related topics, featuring speakers from the laboratory, strategic partners, and the energy industry.

Inspired by the Grand Challenges in Wind Energy Science, each webinar in the series grants participants a better understanding of the challenges facing wind energy and the pathways forward for making wind one of the most prevalent energy sources of the future. Participants can also catch up on past webinars in the series by visiting NREL's Learning Channel.

Upcoming Webinar

Floating Offshore Wind Systems of Tomorrow

Nov. 5, 2020
9–10:15 a.m. MT

Floating wind technology is critical to the U.S. offshore wind industry because 58% of offshore wind resource is in deep water, where higher winds and fewer deployment barriers offer abundant siting opportunities. The science of these systems is already pushing beyond current design assumptions that were developed for smaller machines in terrestrial applications. Floating design philosophies adapted from the offshore oil and gas industry fall short of commercial cost targets, necessitating substantial innovation and validation. Join Amy Robertson and a panel of researchers from NREL for a webinar to discuss the research needed to design and optimize innovative floating wind systems that will enable the deep cost reductions necessary for the commercialization of floating offshore wind.

For more information about the webinar, including how to register, contact Alex Lemke.


Amy Robertson
Senior Research Engineer

Jason Jonkman
Senior Research Engineer

Garrett Barter
Senior Research Engineer

Senu Sirnivas
Senior Research Engineer

Webinar Archives

Oct. 7, 2020

In partnership with the U.S. Department of Energy, national laboratories, and industry, Nick Johnson and a panel of researchers from NREL discussed new, innovative technologies that maximize the advantages of large-scale rotors and their potential for increased energy generation. This work as part of the Department of Energy's Big Adaptive Rotor project aims to create the next generation of land-based wind turbines with 206-meter rotors, which will increase capacity factors by 10% or more over a typical land-based turbine. This webinar addressed the challenges associated with increasing rotor size for onshore wind turbines, which has contributed to substantial reductions in the cost of wind energy, and the feasibility of these large rotors and the design, modeling, and controls advances needed to enable these technologies to further drive down wind energy costs.

Aug. 31, 2020

Watch the Atmospheric Science for Wind Energy Research webinar.

Atmospheric processes create and control the fuel that drives energy demand as well as several renewable energy technologies, most notably the wind. Though these processes have been examined for thousands of years, our understanding of the dynamics of the atmosphere is lacking at the temporal and spatial scales critical to these energy systems. As a result, atmospheric scientists are breaking new ground in describing how highly complex wind dynamics evolve from global weather patterns to interactions between turbines, wind power plants, and groups of plants. The new understanding is driving increases in both productivity and reliability. And the science behind these processes continues to advance through an integrated series of field campaigns and simulation tool development activities.

Senior Engineer Pat Moriarty hosted this webinar in which a panel of wind energy science and technology leaders discussed the latest atmospheric research in partnership with the U.S. Department of Energy, national laboratories, industry, and the international community. Topics included a fundamental overview of atmospheric forcing, resource assessment, atmospheric measurement including remote sensing, contrasting processes between land-based and offshore wind, and turbulence-resolving atmospheric simulations. Speakers also highlighted recent and forthcoming large-scale field campaigns, such as the Wind Forecasting Improvement Projects and the American Wake Experiment (AWAKEN).

July 30, 2020

View the Future of High-Performance Computing for Wind Energy presentation slides.

The key to optimizing wind energy is the ability to predict and understand the complex interplay of turbulent atmospheric fluid dynamics, turbine wakes, and turbine dynamics. That complexity increases as turbines become larger, wind farms increase in number, and are built in complex terrain both on land and offshore. Predictive simulation of wind plants requires resolving an extreme range of scales, going from sub-millimeter-scale blade boundary layers to kilometer-scale wind plant domains.

Principal Scientist Michael Sprague hosted this webinar in which a panel of wind energy science and technology leaders discussed the creation and application of a new open-source modeling and simulation environment for wind energy called ExaWind. The ExaWind project is a close collaboration among more than 40 researchers from NREL, Sandia National Laboratories, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the University of Texas at Austin, and Parallel Geometric Algorithms LLC. Our team is assembling and creating a suite of computational fluid dynamics and computational structural dynamics codes for wind turbines and wind plants. ExaWind is funded by the U.S. Department of Energy's Exascale Computing Project.

July 1, 2020

Watch the Grand Challenges in Wind Energy Science webinar.

NREL wind energy researchers illuminate the grand challenges in wind energy science that need to be addressed to make it one of the world's primary sources of low-cost electricity generation. The international scientific community is invited to help to tackle these challenges.

An international group of researchers led by NREL published a thought-leader article on the topic last year in Science. In addition to written discussion on the topic, several authors of the report held a webinar to highlight the nature of the grand challenges and walk through some of the reasons these issues remain unsolved. They also highlight the interconnected nature of the challenges and how this necessitates a new discipline of wind energy science, and the systems perspective it provides, to help wind energy reach its full potential—supplying as much as one-third to one-half of the world's electricity needs.