NASA Lewis Research Center Attempts To Procure Suitable Wind Turbine Rotor Blades

PSAD-81-12: Published: Nov 21, 1980. Publicly Released: Dec 1, 1980.

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An economical and serviceable wind turbine rotor blade has yet to be delivered to the Lewis Research Center by any contractor. The blades delivered thus far have experienced problems in design, fabrication, or testing. GAO reviewed the technical aspects of soliciting, evaluating, and selecting blade contractors by the Center.

Although GAO noted some deficiencies in the procurement process for blade contracts, Lewis Research Center's procurement policies and practices have not impeded the development of the blades for the Wind Energy Program. Rather, the problems in blade development seem to center on: (1) the relatively slow advancement in the state of the art for windmill blade technology; (2) insufficient analytical tools and facilities to accurately predict blade performance in real-life environments; and (3) the rush to build machines before blade technology has been adequately advanced.

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