The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) launched the Distributed Wind Turbine Competitiveness Improvement Project (CIP) to help reduce the cost of wind energy in the United States. Funding for the project comes from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).
The project is hoping to develop wind turbines which would be competitive and high-performing while lowering the costs, in order to better compete with retail electricity prices in the US. A total of $1.27 million will be shared among Endurance Wind Power, Northern Power Systems, Pika Energy and Urban Green Energy. The funding goes specifically to improving existing wind turbine designs and manufacturing in order to reduce costs, increase efficiencies and ideally, become accredited by third party certification.
The CIP is targeting the small-medium wind turbines up to 250kW; more than two thirds of installed wind turbines in the US fall into this ‘distributed wind’ category.
Joshua Kaufman, director of research and development and co-founder of Pika Energy said, “Today’s small wind turbines need better manufacturing processes and components to make them affordable for a broader market”.
According to the DOE website:
“This second round of CIP awards builds on the success of the first round awarded in 2013, through which Bergey Windpower identified the component improvements necessary to optimize a turbine for increased performance and reduced end-user costs, while Pika Energy developed an advanced blade manufacturing process they plan to further improve in this second round.”
Projects like this will help to continue improving the industry and driving overall costs down, making wind energy a more viable option for electricity generation in the future.