The U.S. Department of Energy has announced $1.8 million in funding to develop larger wind turbine blades.
The new larger blades will help capture more power from wind resources and increase the efficiency of wind energy systems. This new funding will support the research and developments of new innovations to improve overall manufacture, transportation and assembly of wind turbine blades longer than 60 metres. Larger blades that can be installed on wind turbines with taller hub heights will help facilitate the deployment of the next generation of multi-megawatt wind turbines.
In December 2014, the Energy Department’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory released maps that show the potential for new wind energy resources that developers could unlock using next-generation wind turbine technologies. The DoE’s finding showed that these taller turbines accompanied by longer blades have the potential to harness wind power resources from more than one million additional square miles of the United States, roughly triple the amount of developable land that was accessible with turbine technology in 2008.
This funding opportunity will help mitigate the transportation and logistical constraints associated with larger turbine blades, helping spur wind energy development in areas of the country where wind resources can be accessed at greater heights, especially in the Southeast.
The effort to develop larger blades complements the Energy Department’s recent award to two companies that are using innovative construction and installation processes to cost-effectively manufacture taller wind turbine towers. Continued innovation in wind energy technologies and manufacturing will help push the boundaries of renewable energy deployment further than ever before.