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Coming to America: Siemens, Vestas Wind Research Centers to be in Colorado, Texas

Jun 16, 2008 - Wind Energy Weekly

Both Vestas and Siemens announced plans related to wind energy research centers to be located in the U.S., with Vestas identifying Houston, Texas, as the location for its previously announced center and Siemens announcing a facility to be located in Boulder, Colo.

Vestas first announced plans to establish a U.S.-based research center in November. The company said the center marks an important milestone in Vestasís strategy to expand its research and development (R&D) activities globally. The Houston-based center will further consolidate Vestasís presence in one of its main markets and will strengthen its existing R&D structure, which includes centers in Asia and Europe, the company said.

"Houston provides access to a highly qualified workforce in an international and extremely energy-focused research and development environment," said Finn StrÝm Madsen, president of Vestas Technology R&D. ďIn addition, Houston will allow Vestas to establish and strengthen relations within the North American and global energy industry. Tapping into and contributing to the tremendous pool of knowledge and know-how offered by Houstonís energy environment is invaluable in our quest to develop wind turbines that also in the future can meet the technological and cost-efficiency demands of our customers.Ē

The Siemens facility, meanwhile, is expected to employ an estimated 50 people and will focus on atmospheric science research, aerodynamic blade design, structural dynamics, wind turbine dispatch prediction, and reliability.

While Vestasís choice of location was driven by Houstonís status as an energy capital and Texasís leadership in wind energy installations, Siemensís decision to locate its facility in Boulder also was a logical choice, albeit for other reasons. In conjunction with the research center announcement, Siemens and the National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL) announced their intent to enter a cooperative R&D agreement (CRADA) for the installation of a Siemens 2.3-MW pilot wind turbine with a 101-meter rotor at the National Wind Technology Center (NWTC) location south of Boulder. The company will test basic wind turbine characteristics and verify new performance-enhancing features and turbine reliability under severe weather conditions over a minimum period of three years.

ďBoulder will be Siemensí first wind turbine R&D competence center in the U.S. and will increase our ability to competitively serve this important market,Ē said Andreas Nauen, CEO of Siemensís wind power business unit. ďBecause of the proximity of important institutions such as NREL and the NWTC, Boulder is the perfect location for a R&D center in the U.S.Ē

Siemens has established core competence centers for wind turbine R&D in Copenhagen ( Denmark), Aachen ( Germany), Delft ( Netherlands) and Keele ( United Kingdom). In the U.S., Boulder was chosen to leverage potential collaboration efforts with other institutions that are actively engaged in atmospheric research, and wind turbine and associated systems R&D, including NREL, NWTC, the National Center for Atmospheric Research, and the Colorado Renewable Energy Collaborative, a state-funded program including the University of Colorado at Boulder, Colorado State University, and the Colorado School of Mines.