Chapter Corner

Weifield Group Contracting: NREL's Controllable Grid Interface

Posted in: November/December 2013

Post-Construction-3.gifWeifield Group Contracting was rewarded for its work on a construction project that assessed the design, fabrication, and testing of a wind turbine analysis system at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory's (NREL) National Wind Technology Center in Jefferson County, Colorado.

The Controllable Grid Interface (CGI) is a completely unique system that will aid wind farm research and renewable energy development. Weifield Group Contracting, based in Denver, Colorado, provided design-build electrical services for this dynamometer and grid simulator construction project. Being the only one in the world, there were no templates from which to copy this project. It was a unique build, where there were no blueprints or designs to build off.

Weifield Group provided electrical design-build services for constructing a 5 MW 8,000 hp motor, gearbox, and driveline equipment for the dynamometer test facility. Also provided by Weifield Group Contracting were design-build services in constructing the CGI of 7.5 MW capacity to facilitate testing the response of wind turbines and other electrical systems to power grid irregularities.

Weifield.pngBecause every design element was specifically designed and custom created, obtaining information such as submittals and quickly ordering parts was difficult. NREL had a large vision with a large price tag to meet their 10-year site plan, so the Weifield design team was constantly focused on the cost implications for every design decision.

"Working with a small budget for this project, we had to ensure that the owner was getting the best value for their dollar spent - and that all design decisions currently made would be compatible with their future plans," said Megan Bond of Weifield Group.

The result of this project created the first test facility in the United States that has fault simulation capabilities, allows certification testing in a controlled laboratory environment, and is the only system in the world that is fully integrated with two dynamometers and an advanced system of data collection.