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The Energy Department's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) will play key roles in a variety of projects recently funded by the Department's Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E). Researchers from NREL are part of a team led by the University of Virginia that is designing 50MW, extreme-scale wind turbines.

These huge, unconventional turbines could significantly expand access to offshore wind energy. The team's approach relies on an ultralight new blade design coupled with a "morphing" rotor that adapts to wind speed to reduce blade loads. NREL will help design the turbine's unique blades, and determine the potential overall systems cost savings for the turbine design. The lab will also facilitate testing and demonstration of the technology's critical attributes using the laboratory's Controls Advanced Research Turbine platform, a turbine specifically configured to test advanced controls.

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