United States

United States

New technology bolsters US output

Longer blades and taller towers are having a dramatic effect on wind project output in the US, according to the Department of Energy (DoE).

Fast improving US capacity factors are set for a further boost when turbines such as GE's Cypress start operating
Fast improving US capacity factors are set for a further boost when turbines such as GE's Cypress start operating

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The DoE's latest wind technologies market report, compiled by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, found an average capacity factor in 2018 of 42% for projects built since 2014.

By comparison, the wind farms that came online from 2004 to 2011 achieved an average of capacity factor of 31%, while those completed between 2008-2001 returned 24%.

The efficiency of the recently built projects has now pushed the US's total wind fleet's capacity factor to over 35% for the first time.

The average rotor diameter of US turbines has grown 135% in the past 20 years to 113 metres. Average hub heights have climbed by 54% in the same period to 86 metres.

Permit applications to the Federal Aviation Administration show taller and higher-rated turbines are on the way.

They include GE's 5.3MW Cypress turbine, with a rotor diameter of 158 metres and a hub height of over 160 metres.

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