The National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s (NREL) National Wind Technology Center has begun testing small wind turbines under its Independent Testing project. The purpose of the testing project is to support the US Department of Energy (DOE) goal of reducing barriers to wind energy expansion, stabilizing the market, and expanding the number of small wind turbine (SWT) systems installed in the U.S. The turbines will be tested to standards adopted by the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) and in compliance with the draft American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) standards for small wind turbine systems. Tests will include Safety and Function, Acoustic Noise Emissions, Duration, Power Quality, and Power Performance. All test results will be posted on a NREL’s web site (which is still under development).
Through a competitive solicitation, NREL selected four commercially available SWT systems to test in 2008/2009. The four turbines selected include: Abundant Renewable Energy’s ARE 442, Entegrity Wind Systems EW50, Gaia-Wind’s 11kW, and Mariah Power’s Windspire. Three of the four turbines have been installed at the NWTC; Entegrity’s EW50 will be installed in late summer/early fall 2008.
The resultant test data may be used by the Small Wind Certification Council (SWCC), a nonprofit organization formed with support from DOE, AWEA, state energy offices, and turbine manufacturers to certify SWT systems. Certification by the SWCC is expected to commence in 2009. SWTs that are tested and certified will give consumers greater confidence that the systems they install will perform within specified wind regimes as advertised by the manufacturer.
For more information on NREL’s Independent Testing, including photographs of the turbines currently being tested, see a recent paper presented at AWEA’s WindPower 2008.
Source: National Renewable Energy Laboratory