Photo by Kathy F. Atkinson
October 04, 2022
With a wind turbine at the Hugh R. Sharp campus in Lewes – which has been in operation since 2010 and provides all the energy for the campus – in addition to housing wind research center (CReW), the University of Delaware has long been a leader in wind energy research.
For this reason, UD was proud to host wind energy experts by hosting the 2022 North American Wind Energy Academy (NAWEA)/WindTech conference September 20-22 at Clayton Hall.
Prior to the official conference kick-off, a graduate student symposium was held at Clayton Hall on Monday, September 19, sponsored by the European Wind Energy Academy (EAWE).
On Tuesday, September 20, guests were welcomed by conference organizers Cristina Archer, Professor and Unidel Howard Cosgrove Career Development Chair in Environment at UD Departments of Geography and Space Sciences and Mechanical Engineering and the director of CReW, and Paul Veers, principal researcher at National Renewable Energy Laboratory.
In addition to welcome remarks from Archer and Veers, the conference kick-off ceremony included four speakers: Delaware Senator Tom Carper, UD Provost Laura Carlson, Fabrice Veron, Acting Dean of Earth, Ocean and Environment College (CEO) and Jeremy Firestone, former director of CReW and one of the faculty members who helped build the UD wind turbine.
Archer said the conference had a fantastic turnout, with more than 240 people in attendance.
“It was exciting to be back in person after three years of social distancing and zooming,” Archer said. “During the breaks, people were networking, talking and discussing their results, which seemed very advanced as a lot of progress had been made since the last time people spoke to each other.”
As the US Senate was in session, Carper addressed the audience via a pre-recorded video message, in which he mentioned that Delaware being the lowest state in the country, the effects of climate change can be seen first hand. .
“In Delaware, we don’t have to look far to see the effects of climate change. They are already happening in our own backyard,” said Carper who noted that stronger storms continue to hit the Delaware coast, referring to record flooding from Hurricane Ida in 2021 that affected the city of Wilmington. .
Carper said that in adversity lies opportunity and when it comes to climate change, offshore wind offers an opportunity to bring clean energy to the United States.
“We now have a president who thinks America should invest in offshore wind as a resource, and we have an administration that hopes we can,” Carper said, adding that President Biden has the plans to generate 30 gigawatts of offshore wind power – enough electricity to power more than 10 million homes by 2030.
Carlson welcomed conference attendees to UD and highlighted the Lewes Wind Turbine as an excellent example of the University’s commitment to advancing research and developing new technologies.
“We are thrilled that our wind turbine is providing 100% of the electricity for the Lewes campus and that excess energy is feeding into the local power grid,” Carlson said. “In addition, the UD wind turbine offers research opportunities in the areas of turbine corrosion, bird strikes and renewable energy policy issues. This conference adds a new dimension to our shared commitment to renewable energy. We are grateful for your scholarship and for your leadership in the field of wind energy. The world needs your expertise, and the University of Delaware and the UD Center for Research in Wind hope this gathering inspires your work.
Veron highlighted CEOE’s commitment to renewable energy, especially offshore wind research, and explained how CReW offers a week Offshore Wind Skills Academy is aimed at offshore wind professionals or those entering the industry. He also highlighted how CReW is committed to partnering with industry professionals to help advance offshore wind technologies.
“A lot of work is going on with college and at university, and there’s a lot of work going on in the offshore wind industry and across the country,” Veron said. “I am very happy that we are hearing a lot of new discoveries and applied work in your industry.”
The conference was divided into six tracks, five of which had plenary sessions:
Track One focused on power grid integration;
The second track focused on the social/environmental aspects of wind energy;
The third stream focused on offshore wind, including design solutions and modeling analysis;
The fourth track focused on wind turbines and wind power plants;
Track Five focused on atmospheric and ocean science for wind energy; and
The sixth track focused on wind energy application and education.
In addition to the parallel sessions in the individual tracks, there were also plenary lectures where all participants came together to hear from selected speakers. Plenary lectures were streamed live and available for free via Zoom; the recorded videos will be posted shortly on the NAWEA website.
The first track plenary lectures emphasized grid integration, focusing on key aspects of the power system environment in which a wind power plant will need to operate, especially as the energy transition progresses. from a system dominated by fossil fuels to a system much more dependent on wind, solar and batteries.
The plenary lectures of the second track, moderated by Jeremy Firestone, also a professor at the School of Marine Science and Policyand Bonnie Ram, Associate Director of Strategic Initiatives at CReW, discussed the social, cultural and environmental aspects of wind energy development.
As wind energy is installed at ever-larger scales, the social dimensions present challenges that demand a prominent place in research funding and translating that research into stronger public engagement. The theme of environmental justice for Native American tribal nations was explored, highlighting the need for greater sensitivity to the history of settler colonialism, culture and language, project names, and ownership opportunities. offshore wind projects. Finally, the need to fill knowledge gaps on environmental risks at the landscape level and to integrate mitigation strategies into the design of wind technology was also discussed.
The third track panel focused on the different stages of offshore wind development, such as floating offshore wind platforms and the work needed to meet immediate infrastructure needs as well as the long-term research to continue to drive innovation. New initiatives from the U.S. Department of Energy have also been showcased with the hope that they will reduce the cost of floating offshore wind by 70% by 2035. One such path is understanding how to leverage positive impacts the controller can have on load reduction and increased power.
The fourth track plenary lectures highlighted boundary layer turbulence and controls in wind energy systems – in particular, the effects of turbulence on wind farms and emerging achievements and opportunities in controls, including co-designing control of extreme-size turbines – up to 50 megawatts – with innovative palm-inspired, flexible blade technologies.
Panelists on the fifth track examined air-sea interactions and their implications for offshore wind, as well as the impact of ocean wave mechanics on marine atmospheric turbulent boundary layers; simulate and characterize the spatial and temporal evolution of the atmospheric boundary layer at the land-sea interface; and measurements for offshore wind energy, in particular dual-Doppler radar measurements of coastal gradient impacts on an offshore wind farm.
Overall, Archer said she was pleased with how the conference went.
“The sessions went well – the session chairs did a great job – and the attendees were engaged,” Archer said. “Clayton Hall was such a perfect venue – with great staff – for this type of mid-sized event, with both parallel and plenary sessions and the banquet we hosted at Deerfield Golf Club was outstanding. The NAWEA/WindTech 2022 Conference would not have been so successful without the support of many sponsors. I want to say a big thank you to USWind, Ørsted, EAWE, CEOEand Crew.”