A request for proposals for improving utility scale turbines was issued by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) on October 18. The funding, for the Product Improvement Project, may be as high as $15 million over two to three years in the government proportion of cost-sharing, although the level of monies depends upon appropriations from the US Congress. Contracts will be awarded to up to five applicants seeking to improve cost-effectiveness, reliability, and maintainability of commercial turbines of at least 250 kW rated capacity and suitable for "near term global energy markets." Levelised cost of energy is considered the most important possible improvement. The so-called baseline turbine must already exist commercially or at least as a prototype. Improvements must not, however, alter the turbine's number of blades, method of yaw control or rotor orientation. Changes in swept area are limited to 20%, says NREL. Total cost sharing should at minimum be 20%. Proposals are due by November 27, says NREL's Sue Hock.
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