The U.S. Department of Energy (DoE, Washington, DC, US) has announced $1.8 million in funding for the development of larger wind turbine blades aimed at increased power production and efficiency.
The funding will support research and development of technological innovations to improve manufacturing, transportation and assembly of blades over 60 m in length, seen as key to deploying the next generation of multi-megawatt wind turbines.
Data compiled last year by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL, Golden, CO, US) shows that taller turbines accompanied by longer blades have the potential to harness wind power resources from more than 1 million additional square miles of the US.
The DoE funding will help to mitigate transportation and logistical constraints with larger turbine blades, and also to spur wind energy development in areas of the country where wind resources can be accessed at greater heights, such as the Southeast.
DoE says this supports its broader Clean Energy Manufacturing Initiative, which aims to increase American competitiveness in the production of clean energy products and manufacturing competitiveness across the board by increasing energy productivity.