WASHINGTON, Oct. 25, 2017 - DOE’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) awarded six new contracts totaling $1.49 million aimed at reducing costs and improving efficiency in wind energy production.

The funds are being awarded under the Distributed Wind Competitiveness Improvement Project (CIP). Since 2013, CIP has awarded 22 competitively-selected, cost-shared contracts to 12 different manufacturers and component suppliers for small and medium-sized wind turbine designs.

Through five rounds of CIP, DOE has invested more than $5 million. Combined with awardee cost share, CIP-facilitated technology research and development investment totals over $8 million. These distributed wind investments have yielded numerous improvements, including new small wind turbine designs, quieter and more efficient rotors, injection-molded carbon fiber blades, and power inverters optimized for distributed wind systems. Click here for details on the projects funded by the new contracts.

The goals of CIP are to make wind energy from small and medium-sized turbines cost-competitive with other distributed generation technologies, and increase the number of wind turbine designs certified to national safety and performance standards.

CIP research efforts aim to reduce hardware costs through advanced manufacturing processes, to increase system performance through design optimization, and to conduct turbine testing for certification of system performance and safety. Round 5 contracts were awarded to Bergey Windpower Co. of Norman, Oklahoma; Intergrid of Temple, New Hampshire; Northern Power Systems of Barre, Vermont; SonSight Wind of Grayson, Georgia; Star Wind Turbines LLC of East Dorset, Vermont; and Xzeres Wind Corp of Portland, Oregon. 

NREL says it will announce requests for the next round of CIP proposals in early 2018. The agency is also planning a CIP-focused workshop at the National Wind Technology Center in Colorado on Dec. 6.