The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has announced $2 million in funding meant to help develop taller wind turbine towers. The department says these projects will help strengthen U.S. wind turbine component manufacturing, reduce the cost of wind energy and expand the geographic range of cost-effective wind power in the U.S.
While utility-scale wind turbines in operation today average 90 meters, the DOE says projects supported by this funding will engineer design concepts for fabricating and installing turbine and tower systems with a minimum hub height of 120 meters. As described in the National Renewable Energy Laboratory's Analysis of Transportation and Logistics Challenges Affecting the Deployment of Larger Wind Turbines, enabling cost-effective deployment of wind turbines with hub heights up to 140 meters will unlock an additional 1,800 GW in wind power resource potential across 237,000 square-miles of the U.S., or an area roughly the size of Texas, the DOE adds.
The department notes this effort supports its broader Clean Energy Manufacturing Initiative to increase the efficiency of the U.S. manufacturing sector and ensure that clean energy technologies continue to be made domestically.