The U.S. House of Representatives has passed the Wind Energy Research and Development Act of 2009, a bill that would authorize a comprehensive program to improve the efficiency, reliability and cost-effectiveness of domestic wind energy systems. H.R.3165 was sponsored by Rep. Paul Tonko, D, N.Y., and passed with bipartisan support in a voice vote.
‘Government can play an important role in advancing renewable energy technologies by serving as the bridge that will get the best ideas from the drawing board to reality, and grow our innovation economy,’ says Tonko. ‘This bill does just that by providing the necessary investment to help private industry perfect wind energy, and bring those advances in technology and cost savings to market.’
The bill requires the Secretary of Energy to carry out a program of research and development to improve the energy efficiency, reliability and capacity of wind turbines; optimize the design and adaptability of wind energy systems; and reduce the cost of construction, generation and maintenance of wind energy systems.
Specifically, this program would include the following:
– examination of new materials and designs to make larger, lighter, less expensive and more reliable motor blades;
– technologies to improve gearbox performance and reliability;
– automation, materials and assembly of large-scale components;
– low-cost transportable towers greater than 100 meters in height;
– advanced computational modeling tools, control systems, blade sensors and advanced generators;
– wind technology for offshore applications; and
– methods to assess and mitigate the effects of wind energy systems on radar and electromagnetic fields.
The bill would also create a demonstration program to measure wind energy performance that would include the full range of wind conditions across the country. That data would be then used as part of the research and development program. It also requires that the demonstration programs be conducted in collaboration with private industry.
The bill authorizes $200 million per year from 2010 through 2014 for these programs.
SOURCE: Office of Rep. Paul Tonko