U.S. to fund bigger wind turbine blades

Source: By Daniel J. Graeber, UPI • Posted: Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Wind energy could support 600,000 jobs by 2050, government finds.

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U.S. offers funding for research into bigger turbine blades. Funding opportunity follows report that lays out future vision for wind power. Photo courtesy: Dennis Schroeder/National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

WASHINGTON, March 17 (UPI) — More than $1.5 million in federal funding is available for research and development of bigger wind turbine blades, the U.S. Department of Energy announced.The department in December outlined parts of the country where the next generation of wind turbines could be installed. The new areas would roughly triple the amount of land suitable for wind energy development through taller, and potentially multi-megawatt, turbine structures.

“This funding opportunity will help mitigate the transportation and logistical constraints associated with larger turbine blades, helping spur wind energy development in areas of the country where wind resources can be accessed at greater heights, especially in the southeast United States,” the department said in a Monday announcement.

The department last week published a report, “Wind Vision” A New Ear of Wind Power in the United States,” that said wind power capacity could more than double to 10 percent by 2020. The document replaces a 2008 plan that said wind could power 20 percent of the grid by 2030.

The latest wind vision report finds wind energy could be a viable resource in all 50 states by 2050 and support more than 600,000 jobs.

The United States is behind when it comes to offshore wind energy development. Though several sites are in various stages of development, there are no commercial-scale wind energy projects running in U.S. territorial waters.

The latest funding opportunity targets research and development for onshore large-scale wind turbine blade manufacturing and installation concepts.