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The U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and Renewable Energy Systems Americas Inc. (RES Americas) have announced a partnership to evaluate the design and performance of vital wind energy support systems.

Under a cooperative research and development agreement (CRADA), NREL and RES Americas will investigate structural loads on foundations of operating wind turbines, thermal performance of underground collection system electrical cables, and side-by-side comparisons of alternative wind speed measurement systems.

The agreement is worth almost $500,000 over the next two years. This research is important because it will lead to increased efficiency and reduced maintenance in the non-turbine components of a wind farm, which will help to lower the overall cost of wind energy, according to NREL.

"This CRADA will result in some of the first-ever measurements of loads inside and under the foundation of an operating wind turbine," says Jim Green, senior project lead at NREL's National Wind Technology Center (NWTC).

RES Americas will contribute engineering designs needed for the foundations of two utility-scale wind turbines to be installed at the NWTC this summer.

SOURCE: National Renewable Energy Laboratory

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