US to support taller wind turbine towers

The U. S. Energy Department has allotted $2m to two entities to advance technologies to harness stronger winds available at higher heights.

By Ritesh Gupta

The projects in Iowa and Massachusetts will help reduce the cost of wind energy and expand the geographic areas where wind turbines can be deployed.

Keystone Towers of Boston, Massachusetts will implement an on-site spiral welding system that will enable turbine towers to be produced directly at or near the installation site, freeing projects of transportation constraints that often limit turbine height. The technique can be scaled up to produce large diameter steel towers that they report will be 40% lighter than standard turbine towers, which could lower the cost of energy by 10%.

Iowa State University will develop a hexagonal-shaped tower that combines high-strength concrete with pre-stressed steel reinforcements to assemble individual tower modules and wall segments that can be easily transported and joined together on-site.