Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory retained DNV GL Energy USA, Inc. (“DNV GL”) to study the key challenges associated with manufacturing and deploying next generation, increasingly larger, land-based wind turbine blades. This study includes quantitative analyses exploring the costs and benefits of three potential pathways to enable use of wind turbine blades that are too large to be transported using traditional methods on existing road and rail infrastructure. The three innovation pathways considered in this study are: innovative transportation, segmented (hybrid) blades, and on-site manufacturing. Analysis of these pathways is intended to ultimately identify unique, high-value research and development (R&D) the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) could undertake to enable use of “supersized” blades. This study is not intended, nor should it be interpreted as selecting a “best” or “preferred” innovation pathway. The study focuses on wind turbine blades and is not a detailed study of alternative wind turbine design or an optimization study intended to close specific knowledge gaps.
This project provides supplemental information for use in DOE’s Big Adaptive Rotor project, led by Sandia National Laboratory. The Big Adaptive Rotor project is a detailed study of alternative wind turbine designs and systems. This report presents the results of DNV GL’s analyses and recommendations; it does not necessarily represent the opinions of the U.S. DOE or consensus among various national laboratories.