With the U.S. Department of Energy’s vision of generating 20 percent of U.S. electricity from wind, put forth in their (aptly named) 2008 report 20% Wind Energy by 2030, we need as many people as we can get working on it. Bringing together the U.S’s leading renewable energy lab – National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and Gamesa, a wind power production company, public meets private looks quite promising. The two are joining together to study and develop the “next generation of wind turbines” designed specifically for the U.S. market.
NREL brings to the table the most extensive wind-turbine testing facility in the U.S., where Gamesa has already contributed their G97 Class IIIA 2.0 MW wind turbine model as the test platform. Playing with new designs, products, and equipment, the team will study the systems’ behavior and performance in order to develop new wind turbine components and rotors for the U.S. market; research and test new control strategies; and create models to develop offshore wind turbines for the U.S. coastal waters.
According to the American Wind Energy Association, after 2011 the U.S.’s total wind capacity is 46,919 megawatts. And the Energy Information Administration reported this March that in 2011 wind generation increased 27 percent, and is now close to meeting 3 percent of the nation’s total electricity demand. But while wind energy is on the rise, major efforts are needed to bring that number up 17 percentage points in 18 years.