The US Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) intends to issue, on behalf of the Wind and Water Power Technologies Office (WWPTO), a Funding Opportunity Announcement (DE-FOA-0001214) to support the development of innovative designs and processes for the manufacturing and assembly of wind turbine blades in order to facilitate deployment of the next generation of multi-megawatt wind turbines.
The objectives of this FOA are to:
Enable access to previously untapped regional wind resources by supporting development of innovative rotors, a key sub-system of cost-effective taller, larger turbine systems. (A January 2014 report by a team from NREL noted that US regions with slower wind resources, such as the Northeast, Southeast, and West, would benefit the most from the use of taller towers and larger rotor diameters that reach the faster winds at higher altitudes.)
Increase energy capture by increasing rotor swept area while reducing lifetime Levelized Cost of Energy (LCOE).
Mitigate the constraints on deployment of larger blades caused by limitations in transport infrastructure and regulations, as well as addressing challenges and high costs of on-site assembly and installation. The same NREL report noted that:
Technologies that enable larger wind turbines on taller towers create opportunities for further LCOE reductions. However, transportation and logistics challenges limit the size and tower height of land-based turbines that can be deployed in the United States. Addressing these transportation and logistics challenges will allow for deployment of larger state-of-the-art turbines, which may accelerate the development of new markets in low- and moderate-wind-speed regions in the United States and enable LCOE reduction pathways for all land-based wind turbines.
Identify innovative ways to reduce total system costs from sourcing materials through manufacturing, logistics and final assembly.
Increase the technology advantages and market competitiveness of US manufacturers in alignment with the EERE Clean Energy Manufacturing Initiative (CEMI).
Supported projects will develop cost-competitive integrated solutions that address the challenges of fabricating, transporting overland and assembling rotor blades longer than 60 meters (197 feet), with design concepts scalable to greater lengths, and installing them at wind turbine hub heights of at least 120 meters (394 feet). Multi-organizational teams including at least an original equipment manufacturer (OEM) turbine designer, a blade manufacturer and an installation/logistics firm are expected.
DOE intends the proposed FOA to be forward-looking in addressing US market dynamics and domestic manufacturing opportunities through innovative solutions to constructing and assembling larger blades directly applicable to mitigating US transportation constraints.
Awards under the FOA will support partnerships between DOE and research and development (R&D) teams, including manufacturers. The resulting designs must be manufacturable in the US.
J. Cotrell, T. Stehly, J. Johnson, J. O. Roberts, Z. Parker, G. Scott, and D. Heimiller (2014) “Analysis of Transportation and Logistics Challenges Affecting the Deployment of Larger Wind Turbines: Summary of Results”