Accomplishments and Year-End Performance Report; Wind Energy Program: Fiscal Year 2021

    Research output: NRELManagement


    The National Wind Technology Center (NWTC), located at the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE's) National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) Flatirons Campus, has been a driving force in advancing wind energy technology research worldwide since its designation as a DOE national research center in 1992. Enabled by the Flatirons Campus's world-class facilities, scientists, engineers, analysts, and researchers are pushing the frontiers of science to pursue wind energy innovation. In Fiscal Year (FY) 2021, NREL continued to provide the technical expertise, research capabilities, and industry understanding to support DOE's ambitious climate action and research goals by advancing technology, addressing market and deployment barriers, and driving down costs with more efficient, reliable, and predictable wind energy systems. One of several highlights, NREL received an R&D 100 Special Recognition Award for its Thermoplastic Resin System for Wind Turbine Blades. This breakthrough in the wind turbine manufacturing process will enable the production of recyclable blades that are stronger, longer, and less expensive, while increasing energy capture, decreasing energy and transportation costs, and increasing blade reliability. In a year when the entire U.S. economy struggled to address workforce gaps, an NREL study compared wind industry needs, training programs, and hiring practices with perspectives from students and recent college graduates. Researchers hope that, by pinpointing areas of disconnect, the expectations of employers who have difficulty filling entry-level jobs can better align with the preparation of the potential applicants who find it hard to break into the field. The lab also made numerous new data and modeling resources available in FY 2021. Recent NREL releases include a modeling tool for predicting the power performance and structural loads of wind turbines within a wind farm (FAST.Farm), a computational framework for modeling golden eagle behavior near wind farms, and 20 years of offshore wind data. Updates were also made to the widely used Wind Plant Integrated Systems Design and Engineering Model (WISDEM), which couples engineering and cost models to examine system-level trade-offs. Now, bolstered by a renewed national commitment to tackle climate change and revitalize the U.S. economy through increased investment in clean energy - particularly in offshore wind energy - NREL stands poised to lead the way to a sustainable future that powers the United States with significant levels of reliable, low-cost, accessible wind energy. This report provides an overview of the achievements NREL made on behalf of DOE's Wind Energy Technologies Office (WETO) and other partners during FY 2021 (between Oct. 1, 2020, and Sept. 30, 2021).
    Original languageAmerican English
    Number of pages97
    StatePublished - 2021

    NREL Publication Number

    • NREL/MP-6A42-81604


    • Flatirons Campus
    • NWTC
    • research capabilities
    • technical expertise
    • wind energy technology


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