Each year, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) releases a Wind Vision report that has information on the social, environmental, and economic value of wind power. The report shows what the benefits would be in theory to the U.S. population if wind energy supplied at least 35% of the country’s power by 2050.
What is the Wind Vision Report?
In addition to simply just providing a glimpse into what a wind energy future might look like for the country, the Wind Vision report also creates a roadmap with an action plan for reaching those numbers. The Wind Vision report also makes a case for the economic benefits of wind by showing how many jobs the industry might create nationwide. Kurz Wind also likes to remind people that wind energy has already come a long way in the U.S., and the report highlights industry successes, too.
Lowering Wind Energy Costs
Along with showing where the country may be with wind energy several decades down the road, the Wind Vision report also shows how wind energy has decreased in cost over time, and how it will continue that trend in the future. Wind Vision highlights projects that have successfully lowered the cost of wind power by using technology. In 2020, the DOE created a project to measure oceanographic information and weather. This information, which is critical to wind projects, was made publicly available. The buoy-based project also provided key information to the wind power developers so that they could determine the size, site, and design of their planned wind projects, which in turn allowed them to see how much power the wind projects create.
In its report, the DOE also noted special considerations for offshore wind farms. The report showed that wind projects located offshore require floating foundations to maximize energy production rather than conventional foundations. However, creating those foundations requires a lot of planning and materials. The DOE ultimately developed a lighter and more mobile foundation made of steel that can capture wind power from deeper waters located further offshore.
Expanding Deployment Areas
Another accomplishment highlighted by the DOE in its report is the fact that through a special project, the agency was able to work in collaboration with key partners to find a way to expand areas where wind projects could be developed. In this project, the agency worked with a wind manufacturer to create a unique spiral welding process for towers in wind turbines. The manufacturing process was also cost-effective and reduced the cost of constructing the tower by nearly 40 percent.
Greater Economic Value
Wind Vision also showed a case study where the DOE applied a technology called 3D printing to creating molds for wind turbine blades. The process reduces the need to create a “plug,” which is typically a component needed to develop the mold for creating fiberglass blades. Ultimately, it reduces the cost and time necessary for manufacturing blades.
Wildlife and Environmental Considerations
Along with creating ways to lower the cost of wind energy production, the DOE also continually strives to make wind projects better for wildlife and the environment, which is especially important for wind projects of a larger scale. In one project, the agency worked with Purdue University to create technology that viewed a wind farm through the lens of a golden eagle. The project studied how the golden eagles responded to the wind system, which in turn influenced the development of a wind system that was safer for eagles to navigate.
In the past few years, wind energy has come a long way. It is an exciting technology that will be only more prevalent in the future. Kurz Wind will gladly answer any questions you have about wind power.
Categorised in: Latest Wind Power Industry News - Kurz Wind Division
This post was written by Matt Passannante