Northern Power Receives DOE Funds To Develop New Turbine

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Northern Power Systems Inc. will use a grant from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to help fund development and commercialization of a midsize permanent magnet direct-drive wind turbine, the Northern Power 450.

The DOE recently awarded a total of $5 million to support wind energy development in the U.S., and Northern Power Systems was one of three companies to receive $1.8 million to increase the speed and scale of midsize wind turbine technology, development and deployment.Â

In addition to the DOE funds, Northern Power will leverage almost $10 million in private-sector capital to develop a 450 kW turbine.

‘It's a terrific assistance for us, and we're very grateful to receive the grant,’ says John P. Danner, CEO of the Barre, Vt.-based company.

Northern Power's Northwind 100, a 100 kW wind turbine is deployed in five market segments: wind-diesel applications for remote areas, schools and universities, small businesses, municipalities and farms.

‘The 450 is a direct technology scale up of the 100, and it's intended for the same set of customers and our same set of development partners,’ explains Danner. ‘I think it will fit very nicely into the community wind business.’

The development of the Northern Power 450 is expected to create approximately 70 to 100 engineering and manufacturing jobs within Northern Power Systems over the next few years, according to the company.

Danner would not comment on when the Northern Power 450 turbine will be commercially available. However, the company also is developing a utility-scale 2.2 MW permanent magnetic direct-drive wind turbine and expects the prototype to be installed in Michigan later this year.

‘We're seeing tremendous commercial interest from several different parties,’ he notes, adding that the 2.2 MW turbines are currently being built at a production facility in Saginaw, Mich.

Danner says the industry is moving toward permanent magnetic direct-drive technology – especially in the Chinese and offshore wind markets.

‘The adoption of permanent magnet direct drive has just become fairly commonplace, and you see that accelerating in those two areas,’ he says.

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