DOE issues Guidance on Quality Assurance through Wind Turbine Certification Requirements

Within the DOE Wind and Water Power Technology Office (WWPTO) mission to lead the nation’s efforts to accelerate deployment of wind power technologies, Director Jose Zayas has issued a memorandum recommending certification as a means of consumer and stakeholder protection.

The memo states that WWPTO encourages that public funds be provided only for wind turbines that have been tested and certified for safety, function, performance, and durability. Certification requirements ensure taxpayer funds are only made available to products with dependable performance estimates and demonstrated compliance with nationally recognized standards. Seventeen federal agencies received the memo, including the U.S. Treasury, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the U.S. Department of Commerce, the U.S. State Department, USAID, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Government Services Administration, the DOE Federal Energy Management Program, the DOE Tribal Energy Program, Veterans Affairs, and several military branches.

In the memo, Zayas also recommends that local planning officials, utilities, banks, state energy offices and federal agencies adopt certification, or quality assurance requirements, as a means of protection against untested technologies, unverified claims about turbine performance, and high-profile equipment failures. As of April 2014, 15 wind turbine models up through 100 kW are fully certified in the U.S., nine are conditionally or partially certified, and 21 others have conducted testing or are pending applications.

The intent is to inform fellow agencies on certification for small and medium wind turbine technologies used in distributed generation applications, and outline investments WWPTO has made in establishing a framework for wind turbine certification. The 4-page memo provides background, explains terminology, and describes progress toward the programmatic goal of increasing the number of certified small and medium wind turbines in the U.S. from a 2010 baseline of zero to 40 turbine designs by 2020. This implementation work builds on strategic planning efforts at the DOE’s National Wind Technology Center to develop testing and a U.S. certification process for small wind turbines dating from 2005.

The memo is available at this link: http://distributedwind.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/DOE_Guidance_Wind_Certification.pdf

Related resources are available through the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory: http://epe.pnnl.gov/research_areas/research_area_description.asp?id=287

Source: Distributed Wind Energy Association

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