Commerce Backs Distributed Wind Growth

The U.S. Department of Commerce on May 13 awarded the Distribution Wind Energy Association (DWEA) a two-year grant to develop a roadmap to identify common manufacturing gaps for distributed wind equipment.

The $488,634 grant from the National Institute of Science and Technology (NIST) calls on DWEA to form the “Strategies for Manufacturers Advancing Research and Technology [SMART]” consortium, which will comprise distributed wind energy equipment manufacturers, suppliers, customers, and university researchers. The consortium will be tasked with developing strategies to further distributed wind industry growth and advance innovative manufacturing techniques.

The global distributed wind energy systems market is forecast to grow to $2 trillion by 2030, and U.S. manufacturers of these systems—assemblies of power electronics, composite blades and towers, shafts, bearings, and an array of other electrical, mechanical, and structural components—are world leaders in what is still a small global market.

However, “foreign manufacturers have entered the market, many with systems that mimic the design of U.S. technology. To maintain their edge in a growing global market, U.S. manufacturers must accelerate research and development efforts aimed at improving production processes and driving down component costs,” said NIST.

Sonal Patel, associate editor (@POWERmagazine, @sonalcpatel)

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