The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), through its National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), recently released a Request for Proposal (RFP) for the establishment of Regional Test Centers (RTCs) to test small wind turbines. The turbines will be tested to the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) small wind turbine (SWT) test standard, except where the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) standard is more rigorous. The tests to be conducted are: duration, power performance, safety and function, and acoustic noise emissions.
One of the barriers to the expansion of wind energy is the lack of small turbines that are independently tested and certified. The small wind turbine buying public has long needed a means of distinguishing good, safe wind turbines from products that do not perform as advertised or are hazardous. The IEC has developed standards for testing and evaluation of small wind turbines. NREL has developed a testing capability that is accredited by the American Association of Laboratory Accreditation (A2LA). DOE/NREL proposes to partner with other entities to establish small wind Regional Test Centers (RTCs). These RTCs will expand small wind turbine testing capability within the United States and allow cost effective testing of small wind turbines to the IEC and/or AWEA standard. These test results can be used to obtain third party certification by the Small Wind Certification Council (SWCC) or another certification body. It is anticipated that a large number of tested and certified turbines will help grow the industry by increasing consumer acceptance of Small Wind Turbine (SWT) technology. Other anticipated benefits include:
– Providing locations where potential buyers can see wind turbines in action
– Provide a focus for workforce and curriculum development efforts at post secondary institutions and
– Broader knowledge within the SWT turbine community about how SWTs work.
DOE/NREL anticipates awarding subcontracts to up to four RTCs to test a total of up to eight turbines. DOE/NREL expects the period of performance to run for 30-36 months.
Proposals are due by 5pm Mountain Time on December 8, 2009. A webinar for parties interested in bidding on the proposal will be held on Friday, October 30, 2009 at 10am Mountain Time. Details on how to join the bidders webinar will be posted as an addendum to this RFP on NREL’s website at: http://www.nrel.gov/business_opportunities/solicitations_rfps.html.
For further details on the RFP, click here.
Source: National Renewable Energy Laboratory