Sandia's Accurate Time Linked data Acquisition System (ATLAS II) is capable of sampling a large number of signals at once to characterize the inflow, operational state, and structural response of a wind turbine. It is small, highly reliable, can operate continuously, uses off-the-shelf components, and has lightning protection on all channels. The system provides sufficient data to help operators understand how turbine blade designs perform in real-world conditions, allowing researchers to improve on the original design and design codes.

More than 1,200 MW of wind power capacity was installed in the United States in the third quarter of 2011 alone, bringing new installations through the first three quarters of the year to 3,360 MW, according to the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA). The U.S. wind industry now totals 43,461 MW of cumulative wind capacity through the end of September 2011. Of this total, more than 35 percent of all new generating capacity has been installed within the past four years.

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Annual operations and maintenance (O&M) costs for wind turbines, which include insurance, regular maintenance, repair, spare parts, and administration, are estimated between 3 to 5 percent of the total cost of installation. . . . Many of the same processes used to reduce O&M costs in industrial plants apply to wind power projects. However, the variable environments of both inland and off-shore wind turbine locations, as well as the height of the turbines themselves, pose unique challenges. On October 31, Sandia National Laboratories released the first findings from its Continuous Reliability Enhancement for Wind (CREW) database.

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