Funding to boost development of mid-size wind turbines

The US Department of Energy (DoE) is awarding more than $1.8m (£1.2m) to boost the development and deployment of mid-size wind turbines.

Three mid-size wind turbine makers will receive approximately $620,000 each to accelerate the development, testing and commercialisation of their turbines, which have generating capacities between 200kW and 500kW.

For its part, Clean Green Energy, based in Brighton, Michigan, will work to bring a 200kW vertical-axis wind turbine design into mass production.

Engineers from Northern Power Systems, based in Barre, Vermont, will develop a 450kW turbine, helping to complete the final turbine design, procurement and prototype testing within 18 months.

Finally, engineers at Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas, aim to scale up a two-blade turbine to a 500kW-rated output. The tilt-down guyed tower design, which is braced by guy wires and hinged near its base, allows the turbine to be installed without cranes.

The DoE will provide funding over a two-year period in the hope of strengthening the US mid-size turbine market and helping to address factors that have contributed to slow growth in that segment of the market to date.

Each of the grantees will be eligible to apply for a second phase of the projects, with up to $4m available in additional funding.

Mid-size turbines are often used to generate renewable electricity at schools, farms, factories and private and public facilities. Their size allows them to be installed at the site where the electricity is to be used, minimising the need for new electricity transmission infrastructure.