Wind energy technology continues to advance, as turbines are getting bigger and more productive. Now, engineers face the next step: reliably integrating this energy into the grid. Challenges include size and material limitations, as well as energy storage limitations, curtailment and more. Engineers are working on solutions. One example is using battery storage and integrating it with distributed generation. New manufacturing methods and materials for turbine components are also being explored. On-site turbine production would be useful to bypass transportation challenges.
At NREL’s Flatirons Campus, all turbines collect data, such as on the impacts of weather, wake turbulence, and the lifespans of future components and blades. The ultimate goal is advancing clean energy technology and materials for widespread use—making it less expensive, more reliable, more resilient, and more compatible with other generation sources.