The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has announced Windurance and a select few other companies as recipients of the Competitiveness Improvement Project (CIP) awards.
Since their inception in 2013, CIP awards have helped pave the way for an increase in domestic and international use of distributed wind energy technology.
The current round of awards focus on developing technology that will lower the levelized cost of energy as well as enhance and certify existing turbine systems. These technologies include:
- Increased rotor size
- Modular, high-efficiency wind-specific inverters
Developing larger rotor sizes and new inverter technology will support “distributed wind’s ability to provide local grid support as part of a more distributed energy network” says Ian Baring-Gould, NREL’s Distributed Wind Program lead.
Lowering Distributed Wind Energy Costs
As distributed wind energy becomes more prevalent in the United States, CIP aims to promote technological innovations that make smaller-scale wind turbines more economical, efficient, and available to all.
In 2019, Windurance was awarded a CIP subcontract for innovative work reducing the cost of pitch actuator systems by more than 50%.
Now through the 2021 round of funding, Windurance received a new subcontract to design, verify, and obtain third-party certification of a new three-phase 480-volt inverter and control system for 50-300 kW class generators. This project removes a major barrier to distributed wind turbine manufacturers by providing a UL1741/IEEE1547-certified product suitable for grid connection.
Matric Limited, another recipient of the 2021 round of CIP funding and a sister company of Windurance, aims to finalize the development of an Intergrid 25-kW power inverter and create facilities capable of ramping up commercial production and testing of the inverters. Its goal is to deliver over 1,000 inverters per year.
Made in the USA
The aforementioned projects will establish a U.S. operation to manufacture, sell, and support the certified power conversion equipment.
Shaping the Future of Distributed Wind Energy
With distributed wind energy on the rise, the Distributed Wind Energy Association (DWEA) aims to create a community of advocates to help innovate and promote the use of wind energy. This community includes:
- Project developers
DWEA brings together advocates of community (small) wind to innovate and promote the use of wind energy. Programs like NREL’s CIP help the distributed wind industry make the technology cheaper and more sustainable for a wider market.