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NREL targets small wind turbine developers with funding

The awards are intended to help manufacturers of wind turbines less than 1 MW in capacity to optimize their designs to reduce costs.

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory said it plans to award $2.9 million to 11 manufacturers of small- and medium-scale wind turbine technology through its Competitiveness Improvement Project (CIP). 

The awards are intended to help manufacturers of wind turbines less than 1 MW in capacity to optimize their designs to reduce costs, increase energy production, and enhance grid reliability, resilience, and compatibility with solar and storage systems. The awards are also intended to accelerate pathways to commercialize the turbines.

Once the 2022–2023 project agreements are finalized, NREL will have awarded 64 subcontracts to 26 companies, totaling $15.4 million of Energy Department funding, while leveraging an expected $7.9 million in additional private-sector investment since CIP began in 2012.

The companies selected for 2022–2023 CIP awards are:

Bergey Windpower Company, Norman, Oklahoma: To increase access to its 15 kW wind turbine model, Bergey Windpower will develop an innovative financing solution to reduce upfront costs for residential customers in partnership with a major solar financing company.

Carter Wind Turbines, Wichita Falls, Texas: Carter Wind Turbines will develop a 20% taller, 60-meter tower that will increase energy production and lower costs for its modernized 300 kW wind turbine. The project builds on past CIP awards aimed at opening a broader range of wind resources and applications for Carter Wind Turbines’ medium-scale turbine technology including remote and behind‐the‐meter industrial deployments.

Eocycle America Corp., Swanton, Vermont: Eocycle America Corporation has been selected for two new CIP awards, under which it will partner with large corporate agricultural organizations to develop business models for expanding the deployment of distributed wind energy across their properties. It also will complete electrical safety listing of its Eocycle EOX S-16 turbine system to the UL 6142 standard.

NPS Solutions, Darien, Connecticut: NPS Solutions plans to complete the UL 1741-SA power converter (inverter) electrical listing required for the U.S. market. This listing will demonstrate compliance of NPS Solutions’ 100 kW turbine technology with the latest grid interconnection safety standard, a new requirement for deployment in the U.S. market.

Pecos Wind Power, Somerville, Massachusetts: Pecos Wind Power will develop the design and tooling for the fabrication of a 14.5-meter wind turbine blade that will lead to a lower-cost 85 kW wind turbine.

Primus Wind Power, Lakewood, Colorado: Primus Wind Power will test six of its micro wind turbine models for certification to standards set by the American National Standards Institute, American Clean Power Association, and Federal Communications Commission.

RRD Engineering, Arvada, Colorado: RRD Engineering will begin developing BladeRunner, a 150 kW wind turbine that reduces technology costs through a simpler manufacturing process of blades and support structures and by using readily available materials.

Sonsight Wind, Grayson, Georgia: Sonsight Wind will manufacture a permanent-magnet generator for its prototype 3.5 kW distributed wind turbine, advancing toward the goal of manufacturing a certified and cost-competitive small-scale distributed wind turbine.

Windurance LLC, Coraopolis, Pennsylvania: Windurance LLC will design a modular energy storage solution that will be certified by a third party to the UL 1741 standard. The innovative, scalable design presents a solution for a wide range of distributed wind turbine sizes (about 15–160 kW) and applications.

Windward Engineering, Spanish Fork, Utah: At a test site in Spanish Fork, Utah, Windward Engineering will install and test a prototype 60 kW, three-bladed, downwind, horizontal-axis wind turbine with independent pitch-to-stall control.

Xflow Energy Company, Seattle, Washington: XFlow Energy Company will optimize its 25 kW, three-bladed, vertical-axis wind turbine, which was originally designed to address the needs of remote communities, to make it suitable for a wide range of customers in the U.S. grid-connected market.

Among the 11 companies selected for 2022–2023 awards, only one is new to CIP.

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