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.

Webinar Archive

July 15, 2021

Watch the Advantages of Distributed Wind Generation and How It Plays an Important Role in the Energy Mix webinar.

NREL's distributed wind research capabilities span the innovation pipeline, including design, modeling, simulation, resource characterization, analysis, and manufacturing. Meet some of NREL's world-class experts, who will share how distributed wind can reduce costs and improve small-scale turbine plant performance.

June 17, 2021

Watch the Applications of Artificial Intelligence Across Wind Energy Science webinar.

The maturation of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) has transformed the process of data-driven science, leading to new fundamental insights and improved predictive models that can address many outstanding challenges in wind energy. In this emerging paradigm, AI/ML techniques provide a new pathway to obtaining computationally efficient surrogate models that encode the key insights from high fidelity models or experimental campaigns into design-oriented tools. In this webinar, NREL scientists highlight several successful efforts at NREL to apply AI/ML across wind energy science.

May 12, 2021

Watch the Addressing Environmental Concerns Associated with Wind Energy Development webinar.

In this webinar, Cris Hein highlighted engagement activities for the environmental portfolio and discuss several projects aimed at validating cost-effective minimization measures for bats. John Yarbrough presented results on classifying biological observations from thermal video data using machine learning. This work helps provide a better understanding of the timing, conditions, and behavior of wildlife interacting with wind turbines. Eliot Quon presented on the development of atmospheric and wind power plant flow models that pair flight behavior to predict risk to golden eagles at two spatial scales. This research helps inform siting decisions as well as curtailment responses to eagle presence. Rebecca Green discussed the portfolio's stakeholder engagement efforts relative to offshore wind energy, including the U.S. Offshore Wind Synthesis of Environmental Effects Research and the Working Together to Resolve Environmental Effects of Wind Energy (WREN) Horizon Scan. Through these and other projects, NREL strives to facilitate and support the coexistence of renewable energy development and the environment.

Apr. 8, 2021

Watch the Beyond Technical Potential: The Challenges of Siting Wind in a Low-Carbon Future webinar.

Achieving decarbonization goals will require rapid and sustained deployment of wind and solar power. However, the interaction between siting considerations and clean energy development at this scale is not well understood. Moreover, this interaction is poorly reflected in data and tools used to inform these goals. In this webinar, NREL analysts Trieu Mai and Anthony Lopez presented two related research efforts that used detailed geospatial and power-sector modeling to shed light on this critical, yet underappreciated, topic.

Mar. 11, 2021

Watch the Hybrid Energy Systems of the Future webinar.

This webinar showcased the design and control of the wind energy systems of the future ranging from utility-scale wind plants and state-of-the-art wind-based hybrid plants to the control of these variable resources along with millions of devices across vehicles, buildings, and distributed solar. The future energy system will be a carefully orchestrated effort between utility-scale renewable energy and distributed energy resources. A clean energy future requires coordinated control of these technologies and fundamental innovation with state-of-the-art control theory and sensor fusion. Research will be conducted with NREL capabilities being developed at the Advanced Research on Integrated Energy Systems (ARIES)—a state-of-the-art research facility that brings together hardware and software across different domains to match the complexity of modern energy systems. These technologies can seamlessly integrate edge devices, sensor information, and utility-scale generation to go beyond mere convenience and simultaneously improve the quality of life, enhance mobility, optimize grid integrated efficient buildings, and improve the affordability, reliability, and resiliency of the grid in a sustainable way.

Nov. 5, 2020

Watch the Floating Offshore Wind Systems of Tomorrow webinar.

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.

Oct. 7, 2020

Watch the Examining the Increasing Size of Onshore Wind Turbine Rotors webinar.

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.

Senior Engineer Pat Moriarty hosted this webinar with a panel of wind energy science and technology leaders to discuss 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

Watch the Future of High-Performance Computing for Wind Energy webinar.

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.