Siemens Energy Inc. and the Department of Energy's (DOE) National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) have formally commissioned a Siemens 2.3 MW wind turbine at NREL's National Wind Technology Center (NWTC).
The turbine is the centerpiece of a multi-year project to study the performance and aerodynamics of a new class of large, land-based machines. Under the initial phase of the $14 million research program, Siemens will contribute $9 million, and NREL will contribute $5 million.
Under the cooperative research and development agreement, Siemens and NREL will test basic turbine characteristics and verify new performance-enhancing features of the pilot turbine over a minimum of three years. Testing will include a full range of real-world operating regimens, including severe weather conditions.
The 2.3 MW turbine is among the largest land-based turbines deployed in the U.S. and is the largest at the NWTC site, according to Siemens. Planned testing includes structural and performance testing; modal, acoustics and power quality testing; aerodynamic testing; and turbine performance enhancements.
A new meteorological tower to the west of the Siemens turbine will feature more than 60 instruments to collect data on wind, temperature, dew point, precipitation and other weather features that can influence the performance and life span of a wind turbine.
NREL researchers also are interested in the foundations required beneath the ground to support larger wind turbines. NREL and Renewable Energy Systems Americas have entered into a separate but coordinated agreement to study the design and performance of turbine foundations, with goals of increasing the reliability of non-turbine components and reducing turbine installation costs.
The new turbine and other new projects under way at the NWTC also allow NREL to take a significant step forward in generating its own clean electricity to accomplish the laboratory's aggressive sustainability goals – including the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and meeting the energy needs of NREL's expanding campus. The DOE and Xcel Energy are negotiating an agreement for surplus energy to be exported and sold to the local utility grid.
SOURCE Siemens Energy Inc.