Wind Power Research
Research advances have helped drop the cost of energy from the wind
dramatically during the last 20 years. Research is carried out by research
labs, universities, and utility organizations.
Advanced Wind Turbines
Advanced wind turbines will incorporate the latest components and reduce
the cost of energy from wind to 2.5 cents per kilowatt-hour (in 15 mile
per hour winds).
The aerodynamic forces acting on wind turbines are extremely complex.
Researchers continue to study the aerodynamic behavior of wind turbines.
Computer models are used to predict wind turbine performance and aid in
The trend in utility-scale turbines is to build larger machines, some a
megawatt or more.
During design, engineers analyze the dynamic performance of the entire
wind turbine and its components.
New turbine models are tested to make sure they perform as expected.
Testing is also a requirement for wind turbine certification. Structural,
noise (also called acoustic), and performance tests are commonly performed
on new turbine models.
Utilities are gaining experience operating wind energy plants and
integrating them into their electric grid.
The ability to accurately forecast the wind would allow utilities to use
more wind energy to replace conventional energy.
Wind Turbine Components
Advances in wind turbine components promise to increase productivity and
lower costs. Technologies under development include airfoils developed
specifically for wind turbines, sophisticated control systems that respond
to complex operating environments, innovative generators (operating at
variable or low speeds) that may replace commonly used induction
generators, and new types of rotors.