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US: NREL Distributes Wind Competitiveness Improvement Project Round Four Funding

The Energy Department's (DOE) National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) is awarding four subcontracts under the fourth round of funding through DOE's Distributed Wind Competitiveness Improvement Project (CIP).

The CIP aims to help manufacturers of small and mid-size wind turbines improve their turbine design and manufacturing processes while reducing costs and improving efficiency as they work toward certification. Certification for these turbines is important because it demonstrates to consumers that they meet performance and safety requirements.

The DOE Wind and Water Power Program sponsors the CIP as part of its multifaceted wind energy research portfolio to help the U.S. wind industry develop competitive, high-performance technology for domestic and global energy markets. NREL implements all CIP awards, provides technical oversight of awards, and supplies technical assistance to CIP awardees during the technology advancement or certification process.

Two awardees were selected in the Certification Testing category, which is dedicated to turbines with a rotor-swept area less than 200 square meters. Primus Wind Power, Inc., of Lakewood, Colo., will receive $150,000 in funding to conduct certification testing on its 400-Watt AIR30 model turbine. Bergey Windpower of Norman, Okla., received an award for $152,558 to conduct certification testing of the Bergey Excel 15 turbine.

Certification testing for wind turbines is conducted to either the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) standard or the American Wind Energy Association Small Wind Turbine Performance and Safety Standard. These certifications include power performance, acoustic emissions, safety and function, and duration tests. A design review of the structural components is also conducted.

Two awardees were selected in the Type Certification category, which is dedicated to turbines with rotor-swept areas between 200 and 1,000 square meters. Northern Power Systems of Barre, Vt., will receive $447,000 to conduct type certification testing on its NPS100-24/37m IEC Class IIIA model wind turbine. The second awardee, Endurance Wind Power, Inc., of Seattle, Wash., will receive $450,000 to conduct type certification testing on its model X35 225-kilowatt wind turbine.

Type certification for wind turbines in this category is conducted to the IEC standard. This certification begins with a rigorous design review and issuing a design certificate. Type testing and component tests are also required for the issuing of type certification. Type testing includes safety and function test, power performance test, load measurements, acoustic noise test, and blade test.

The awardees will complete their projects within an 18-month period of performance. With the announcement of the four new subcontract awards, NREL, through this DOE program, has awarded CIP funding to 16 subcontracts. Previous recipients of subcontracts in the first three rounds of funding were:

  • Round 1: Bergey Windpower (Component Improvements and Overall System Optimization) and Pika Energy (Manufacturing Process Upgrades)

  • Round 2: Endurance Wind Power (Prototype Testing), Northern Power Systems (Component Improvements and Overall System Optimization), Pika Energy (Component Improvements and Overall System Optimization and Manufacturing Process Upgrades), and Urban Green Energy (Certification Testing)

  • Round 3: Intergrid (Component Improvements and Overall System Optimization), Pika Energy (Component Improvements and Overall System Optimization), Primus Windpower (Certification Testing), Ventera Wind (Certification Testing), and Wetzel Engineering (Component Improvements and Overall System Optimization).


NREL is the U.S. Department of Energy's primary national laboratory for renewable energy and energy efficiency research and development. NREL is operated for the Energy Department by The Alliance for Sustainable Energy, LLC.


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