Premature failures of mechanical systems have a significant impact on the cost of wind turbine operations and thus the total cost of wind energy. Recently, the Energy Department's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) took a giant step forward in the quest for more reliable, lower-cost wind power with the addition of the new 5-megawatt (MW) Dynamometer Test Facility at its National Wind Technology Center (NWTC). The new facility dramatically expands the capability of NWTC engineers and their industry partners to verify the performance and reliability of wind turbine drivetrain prototypes and commercial machines.
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New Test Facility to Improve Wind Turbines