OOS 18-1 - Wind energy technology: Past, present, and future

Tuesday, August 8, 2017: 1:30 PM
D136, Oregon Convention Center
Robert Thresher, National Renewable Energy Laboratory

Wind energy is currently the least expensive low carbon renewable energy technology and fastest growing electrical energy source being deployed on a global scale. With growing concerns about the climate and air pollution wind is being deployed across the U.S. in large wind farms. With the large scale deployment of wind energy, there are concerns about the impacts to avian and bat species. This presentation will review the current technology development and deployment status for wind energy technologies and then look at projections for wind technology in the future.


The presentation will review the current status and basic operating principles for wind technology and the current deployment status. Projections of wind technology evolution will be discussed, as well as projections for future deployment. In 2015, the U.S. Department of Energy led a comprehensive analysis called the Wind Vision to evaluate future pathways for the wind development and deployment. This study analyses U.S. greenhouse gas (GHG) and pollution reductions, electricity price impacts, job and manufacturing trends, and water and land use impacts—for the years 2020, 2030, and 2050. The results of the DOE study show that massive reductions in greenhouse gasses and other harmful emissions are possible with only a 1% increase in electricity cost. The presentation will give an overview of these study results and a picture of how wind technology will evolve both onshore and offshore. The presentation will also brief description of how avian and bat species interact and with operating wind turbines and explore the turbine operating characteristics that govern the probability of a harmful impacts. With the growing interest in offshore wind energy, the presentation will include information on the characteristics of offshore wind turbines and how they differ from onshore wind technology. The intent is to provide the audience with a background in wind technology and an overview of how birds and bats have been observed to interact with wind turbines and how they can be impacted.