“As our Nation increases its reliance on clean, renewable energy, we turn again to wind, one of mankind’s oldest power sources, Dr. Mark Handschy, Senior Advisor to DOE’s Under Secretary Kristina Johnson, said. “This turbine provides the Department of Energy with a research facility dedicated to understanding the fundamentals of the new uses we’re making of this trusted resource.”

The 1.5-MW turbine, informally known as the “DOE 1.5,” will generate power for facilities at the NWTC and will also feed electricity back into the local grid. The celebration of the DOE 1.5 turbine gathered participants from DOE’s Wind and Hydropower Technologies Program and the national laboratories to discuss ways to utilize the turbine as a testbed for future research projects.

“This turbine provides the foundation for long-term collaborative research with our DOE, university, and industry partners,” NWTC Director Fort Felker said.

DOE has invested more than $5 million since 2008 to procure and install this wind turbine, which was manufactured by GE. The turbine was delivered to the NWTC in December 2008 and installed between July and September of 2009. The NWTC has created a video of the installation of the turbine that shows the steps involved in installing a modern utility-scale wind turbine.

“We’re very excited that GE’s 1.5-megawatt wind turbine has been selected by the DOE to participate in this important research and development program,” GE Power & Water’s Vice President of Renewable Energy Victor Abate said. “Finding ways to improve wind turbine reliability and wind forecasting methods will help ensure the continued expansion of the wind industry, resulting in economic growth and a reduction in greenhouse gases. That is a goal we share with the DOE.”

The research enabled by this turbine will help address the barriers to supplying 20% of the nation’s electricity from wind energy by 2030. Current topics of interest include power performance testing, gathering and analyzing turbine loading data, designing advanced turbine controls, developing advanced turbine components, and studying wind farm performance data.