Published on March 31, 2019 |
by Tina Casey
31. March 2019 by Tina Casey
There they go again. Last Thursday, US President * Trump ridiculed the American wind industry during a profiled campaign termination in Minnesota. The very next day, the US Department of Energy managed another $ 28 million in funding for – you guessed it – research projects aimed at accelerating wind power development in the United States.
The new financing report is particularly interesting in light of the President's remarks, because it focuses on three areas where commercial activity has not yet flourished: offshore wind, high tower and distributed wind.
What is all this about distributed wind power?
Let's start with distributed wind research first, because it crosses with two of our favorite topics, rural electric cooperatives and micro wind turbines.
Distributed wind refers to turbines that connect directly to end-users, such as a farm, a school campus or a business. They can also connect to the local grid.
These turbines usually fall into the small category, but not always. It usually means a capacity between five kilowatts and one megawatt, but sometimes it refers to the airspace that is worn by the turbine blades.
Rural electric cooperatives enter the picture because distributed wind energy users are generally located in rural areas.
The Energy Department believes that small, distributed winds have an important role to play in decarbonizing the US economy and stimulating US manufacturing jobs.
Tapping into the electric farm market could boost the small wind industry. Currently, there are 900 electric coops in 47 states, serving more than 40 million people. Their service area includes more than half of the country's land mass.
Rural Electric Cooperatives and The Renewable Energy Revolution
DOE already has a relationship with the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association to streamline the sunrise, and now it looks like the wind's turn.
The Agency's interest in small wind power continues to decline during the Trump administration. In 2017, for example, DOE released another funding round to improve performance in small wind turbines that would benefit the distributed wind market.
Last year, the finance announcement included $ 6.1 million for a new hardware / software initiative called WIRED, for Wind Innovations for Rural Development.
The hardware component involves projects that integrate distributed wind with other distributed resources, such as sun. It is a key topic of research because wind turbines and solar fields can reach peak performance at different times of the day and in different seasons. The technical word for it is complementarity.
Researchers with renewable energy are excited about complementarity because it opens the potential for introducing more wind and sun into the network, while minimizing the need for expensive energy storage systems.
The software part of WIRED aims to streamline the process of developing distributed wind projects. Basically, this means that coops do not have to reinvent the wheel with each new project.
But wait, there's more
So far, rural electric cooperatives have been slow to adopt wind power.
Here, DOE describes the motivation behind WIRED:
… Hundreds of rural electricity companies have economically viable distributed wind potential that they can use as a tool to reduce costs and increase the resistance and reliability of their systems …
Tell! DOE attributes the slow adoption rate to "technical risks and lack of knowledge of wind technology." An exploratory workshop in the autumn provided a way forward:
Workshop participants reported on distributed wind systems integrated with other DERs, and agricultural, commercial and industrial applications represent potential High-quality opportunities to support economic development in rural surroundings. 19659010] Got all that? DOE asks designers WIRED awardees for projects that make a precipitate for wind power by integrating turbines with solar fields, energy storage and other loads.
What about Tall Towers?
The high tower portion of the new Financing Opportunities also seeks to develop untapped territory.
The winds are stronger and more consistent at higher altitudes, so higher turbine towers will open up large swords in the United States where low altitude speeds are not optimal.
Particularly, virtually the entire United States southeast would be ripe for windward development with the higher towers in hand.
One problem is to balance costs and benefits. An even bigger problem is transport. The nation's roads, bridges and tunnels are not set up to transport inflexible loads of more than 140 meters.
The agency is looking for economy-of-scale solutions that affect transport constraints.
More Help for Offshore Wind Power
The President's last canister of wind energy was far from one. He swept the office with a well-known antipathy for wind turbines under his belt, possibly with a new offshore wind farm overlooking one of his golf courses in Scotland.
Nevertheless, the American wind industry is still strong during its time, with its own energy secretary, former Texas Governor Rick Perry, acting as a cheerleader chief.
Funding announces the potential for offshore wind to replace coastal fossil fuels in the United States:
With nearly 80% of US demand for coastal electricity and the potential potential for offshore wind power that is about 2000 GW, Offshore wind power has the potential to contribute significantly to a clean, affordable and safe national energy mix.
Sweet. Somewhat ironic, the American offshore sector began to move into life after Trump took office.
The new funding round includes two focus areas for a total of up to $ 17 million. The goal is to upgrade the nation's existing test facility and come up with some innovative ways to cut costs – and do so quickly.
To qualify for funding, the solutions must benefit from offshore wind power projects that will be operational before the end of 2025.
Many of these are already on the way. According to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, the total capacity of announced projects on the Atlantic coast stands at more than 25 gigawatts.
Hold on your hat!
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* Development history.
Photo: US Department of Energy.