A total of six applications were received from partnerships in Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, Ohio, Texas and Virginia for the Cooperative Research and Development Agreement opportunity to build a wind turbine blade test facility with the Department of Energy's (DOE) National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). (See ‘Blade Testing To Be Done.’)
According to the Texas General Land Office, Texas and Massachusetts are among the finalists competing for the large-scale research and development facility. The Texas bid was submitted by the Lone Star Wind Alliance, led by the University of Houston and the Texas General Land Office. The partners submitting the application from Massachusetts include the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative, University of Massachusetts and the Massachusetts Executive Office of Economic Development.
The accepted applicant will design, construct and assist in operating the new center, which will have the capability of testing blades up to 70 meters long. The DOE says growth in the size of wind turbines over the past two decades has outstripped the existing capabilities of NREL's National Wind Technology Center, which operates the only blade test site in North America capable of performing full-scale testing of megawatt-scale wind turbine blades.