National Wind Technology Center

    Research output: NRELTechnical Report


    Wind energy research began at the Rocky Flats test site in 1976 when Rockwell International subcontracted with the Energy Research and Development Administration (ERDA). The Rocky Flats Plant was competitively selected from a number of ERDA facilities primarily because it experienced high instantaneous winds and provided a large, clear land area. By 1977, several small wind turbines were in place. During the facility's peak of operation, in 1979-1980, researchers were testing as many as 23 small wind turbines of various configurations, including commercially available machines and prototype turbines developed under subcontract to Rocky Flats. Facilities also included 8-kW, 40-kW, and 225-kW dynamometers; a variable-speed test bed; a wind/hybrid test facility; a controlled velocity testfacility (in Pueblo, Colorado); a modal test facility, and a multimegawatt switchgear facility. The main laboratory building was dedicated in July 1981 and was operated by the Rocky Flats Plant until 1984, when the Solar Energy Research Institute (SERI) and Rocky Flats wind energy programs were merged and transferred to SERI. SERI and now the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) continuedto conduct wind turbine system component tests after 1987 when most program personnel were moved to the Denver West Office Park in Golden and site ownership was transferred back to Rocky Flats. The 'Combined Experiment' test bed was installed and began operation in 1988, and the NREL structural test facility began operation in 1990. In 1993, the site's operation was officially transferred to theDOE Golden Field Office that oversees NREL. This move was in anticipation of NREL's renovation and reoccupation of the facility in 1994.
    Original languageAmerican English
    Number of pages13
    StatePublished - 1994

    NREL Publication Number

    • NREL/TP-440-6628


    • turbines
    • wind
    • wind energy


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