Secretary of Energy Steven Chu has announced plans to provide $93 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) to support further development of wind energy in the U.S. Chu also announced more than $100 million in funding from the ARRA for National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) facility and infrastructure improvements.
The funding will leverage the Department of Energy's (DOE) national laboratories, universities and the private sector to help improve reliability and overcome key technical challenges for the wind industry. These projects will create green jobs, promote economic recovery and provide the investments needed to increase renewable energy generation, according to Chu.
The DOE will provide $45 million directed toward enhancing the federal government's ability to support the wind industry through testing the performance and reliability of current and next-generation wind turbine drivetrain systems.
To strengthen its support of the wind industry, the DOE will make available $14 million to advance technology development in the private sector. This effort will aim to improve the quality and use of lighter-weight, advanced materials for turbine blades, towers and other components.
The DOE will provide $24 million for the development of up to three consortia between universities and industry participants to focus on critical wind energy challenges. These partnerships will allow universities to establish research and development programs to advance material design, performance measurements, analytical models and work with the industry to improve power systems operations, maintenance and repair, and component manufacturing.
The DOE will invest $10 million at its own National Wind Technology Center in Colorado. This funding will enhance NREL's ability to support the wind industry through testing current and next generation wind turbine drivetrain systems for better performance and reliability.
Additionally, NREL will receive the following:
– $68 million for research support facility,
– $19.2 million for renewable energy and site infrastructure, and
– $13.5 million for upgrades to the integrated biorefinery research facility.
SOURCE: Department of Energy