Energy Department Announces Funding to Access Higher Quality Wind Resources and Lower Costs

January 30, 2014

The Energy Department today announced $2 million to help efficiently harness wind energy using taller towers. These projects will help strengthen U.S. wind turbine component manufacturing, reduce the cost of clean and renewable wind energy, and expand the geographic range of cost-effective wind power in the United States. This effort supports the Energy Department's broader Clean Energy Manufacturing Initiative to increase the efficiency of the U.S. manufacturing sector and ensure that clean energy technologies continue to be made in America.

In the northeastern, southeastern, and western United States, wind conditions near the ground are often low or turbulent—limiting the amount of electricity generated from wind energy. Taller wind turbines take advantage of the stronger, more consistent winds available at greater heights—increasing the number of locations that can cost-effectively produce renewable wind energy.

While utility-scale wind turbines in operation today average 90 meters, projects supported by this funding will engineer design concepts for fabricating and installing turbine and tower systems with a minimum hub height of 120 meters. Applicants should address the potential transportation and logistics challenges associated with larger towers. As described in the National Renewable Energy Laboratory's Analysis of Transportation and Logistics Challenges Affecting the Deployment of Larger Wind Turbines, enabling cost-effective deployment of wind turbines with hub heights up to 140 meters will unlock an additional 1,800 gigawatts in wind power resource potential across 237,000 square-miles of the United States, or an area roughly the size of Texas.

The Department's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy accelerates development and facilitates deployment of energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies and market-based solutions that strengthen U.S. energy security, environmental quality, and economic vitality. For more information on funding opportunities for wind power research, development, testing, and deployment see the EERE Wind Program's Funding Opportunities Web page.