SWiFT Operations


The DOE/SNL SWiFT facility has three research-scale variable-speed variable-pitch modified wind turbines with full power conversion and an extensive sensor suite, two heavily instrumented inflow anemometer towers, and site-wide time-synchronized data collection.

Sandia will operate, maintain, and improve the DOE/SNL Scaled Wind Farm Technology (SWiFT) facility hosted by Texas Tech University (TTU). SWiFT is comprised of

  • three turbines,
  • two inflow anemometer towers, and
  • supporting facilities/equipment

to perform R&D on

  • advanced rotors;
  • turbine–turbine interaction/complex wind farm flow; and
  • aero-elasticity, -acoustics, and -dynamics

Research and Development activities support DOE Wind Plant and Turbine Technology goals by advancing the technology readiness level (TRL) of innovative and advanced technologies up to commercialization.

The SWiFT facility supports wind-plant and turbine research development as a rapid technology accelerator to lower the levelized cost of wind energy. The facility tests and develops prototype technology before transferring to industry in alignment with DOE objectives. This project ensures that the facility is available and operational for collaborative projects with industry, academia and national laboratories as a world-class test bed.

The SWiFT Operations task provides support to TTU to provide a full-time test site lead and part-time assistance for turbine maintenance activities. The site lead is responsible for projecting DOE/SNL safety programs at the site, cleanliness, and maintenance of DOE/SNL facilities. In addition, this task provides support for a Sandia project manager who is responsible for the schedule, organization, safety, budget, site planning, and responding to DOE requests with respect to SWiFT.

Within the framework of Optimizing Wind Plant Performance, the SWiFT facility provides an innovation platform for accelerated testing of new technologies. SWiFT is a world-class experimental facility that ensures high-quality research, aligned with DOE’s objectives, can be executed at any time. Continuous operational excellence, first-class maintenance, and a competent staff will ensure that SWiFT is readily available.

In the past year, the project oversaw the delivery of assets to the site, turbine and meteorological tower construction, and commissioning of the turbines. Annually, operations, maintenance, and improvement will be performed at SWiFT to ensure the facility remains world-class.