While one might be tempted by headlines to assume that wind-energy-related activity in the U.S. will come to a screeching halt at the end of the year, with the seemingly almost certain expiration of the federal production tax credit, that temptation would lead you astray.
At least, that was the suggestion that grew out of a recent conversation between Renewable Energy Magazine and Josh Paquette of Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Sandia is one the United States’ foremost research facilities when it comes to the future of wind energy, and Paquette is the laboratory’s Task Leader for Laboratory and Field Testing of Wind Turbine Blades.
When REM caught up with him, Paquette was running between meetings on various ongoing research projects. One was with a study group called the blade reliability collaborative, a research team that is looking at the intersection of materials and manufacturing, and how materials get put into wind turbine blades. At the same time the group is taking a hard look at the reliability of blades that are currently coming out of the factory and during their operational life.
Another of the meetings on Paquette’s busy schedule involved a long-term project where we are looking into the feasibility of putting very large, floating, vertical- axis wind turbines in the offshore environment off the U.S. coast.