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The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) works with dozens of small business across the USA to enable wind technology as a distributed energy resource through the Competitiveness Improvement Project (CIP). Launched in 2013, the CIP supports manufacturers of distributed wind turbines through competitively-awarded, cost-shared funding to 1) optimise their designs for increased energy production and grid support, 2) test turbines and components to national standards to verify performance and safety, and 3) develop advanced manufacturing processes to reduce hardware costs.
Beyond funding support, awardees can receive technical assistance from NREL to improve their turbine designs and testing plans.
The following projects were selected from the most recent CIP solicitation:
  • Bergey Windpower will develop a rapidly deployable microgrid system based around their 15 kW turbine, combined with battery storage and diesel generation, and configured to fit in a shipping container for transport and installation in U.S. Department of Defense forward operating bases and disaster relief applications.
  • Ducted Turbines will advance the pre-prototype design of their new ducted 3-kW wind system, including a detailed technical review of their preliminary design and initial testing results.
  • Primus Wind Power will develop a next-generation controller that will improve performance and reliability, reduce noise, and lower overall costs for their popular 160-watt Air Breeze Turbine.
  • QED Wind Power will support the certification of their 20-kW horizontal axis wind generator.
  • Sonsight Wind will optimise their 3.5-kW wind turbine system with a focus on developing improved controls that will increase energy production and improve turbine power regulation, while reducing overall systems costs.
  • Westergaard Solutions will implement a building-integrated wind generation concept with no external moving parts, moving from a preliminary conceptual design to a pre-production prototype design that is ready for testing.
  • Windward Engineering will develop a preliminary design and test prototypes of some components for a new 50-kW turbine designed for distributed deployment.
  • Xflow Energy will move its 20-kW vertical axis wind turbine, which was designed specifically for remote microgrid applications, from a preliminary design to a test-ready, pre-production prototype.