The Energy Department and Siemens Energy Inc. this week launched a new multiyear wind energy test to study the performance and aerodynamics of large land-based turbines.
The three-year test, which will be conducted at DOE's National Wind Technology Center near Boulder, Colo., will employ a 2.3-megawatt Siemens turbine and will verify basic turbine characteristics and new performance-enhancing features of the turbine, which has a 331-foot-diameter rotor.
"This important new research program will help us further enhance the performance of our turbines and lower the cost of clean, wind-generated power, which in turn will help diversify the overall mix of power generation sources in the U.S.," Barry Nicholls, senior vice president of Siemens Energy, said in a statement.
The planned tests will gauge structural and performance tests; modal, acoustics and power quality; aerodynamics; and turbine performance enhancements. The tests will include a range of real-world operating regimens and severe weather conditions, according to DOE's National Renewable Energy Laboratory, or NREL, which operates the Wind Technology Center.
NREL researchers are also interested in studying the ground-support requirements for larger wind turbines, which can weigh 400 to 800 tons.
The Siemens turbine to be used in the tests is among the largest land-based turbines deployed in the United States, the company said, and the collaboration is the biggest government-industry research partnership for wind power generation ever undertaken in the United States.
Siemens will contribute $9 million and NREL $5 million to the initial phase of the project.
"Today begins a new era of research at NREL's National Wind Technology Center," the laboratory's director, Dan Arvizu, said during formal commissioning of the turbine Monday. "With our partners at Siemens Energy, we will embark on a comprehensive R&D program that will pave the way for the even more advanced wind turbines of the future."