Private corporation Siemens and the government's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) are working together to study a 2.3 megawatt turbine and learn how it reacts to the elements including severe weather. This will be the biggest government - industry research partnership for wind power generation ever undertaken in the U.S.
Governor Bill Ritter said this is part of creating a more secure energy and environmental future.
"Investments, like the one we're celebrating today will help us build that new and different future, it helps us improve energy efficiency to expand the use of renewables, and decrease our reliance on foreign oil," Ritter said.
NREL says the research will last at least three years and will pave the way for even more advanced wind turbines in the future. It will study the performance and aerodynamics of a class of large, land-based machines in the real world, including severe weather.
Monday, Ritter flipped a symbolic switch as he helped commission the giant machine, fitted with a 331-foot diameter rotor, mounted atop a 262-foot tower.
The turbine will be located at NREL's National Wind Technology Center in Golden.
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