By Leslie Cranford
Texas Tech and the National Institute for Renewable Energy (NIRE), a non-profit, public/private collaboration, will receive $8.4M from the Texas Emerging Technology Fund (TETF) allowing them to help resolve key scientific and technology issues facing the wind power industry.
The announcement came today (July 26) from Gov. Rick Perry, the Texas Tech University System, the Innovate Texas Foundation and The Wind Alliance.
"Texas is home to some of the brightest minds in the energy business, both in the private sector and at our world-class universities, like Texas Tech," Gov. Perry said. "This TETF investment will ensure that Texas can continue to add wind capacity and prepare to connect wind farms to the grid and our major cities, helping address the growing energy needs of a population that is expanding by about 1,000 people per day."
Texas Tech and its wind research organizations will receive $6.4M of the award.
"We are thrilled to receive this Texas Emerging Technology Fund grant," Texas Tech University System Chancellor Kent Hance said. "Texas Tech is nationally recognized as a leader in wind-energy research. As our country moves toward energy independence, Texas Tech will continue to create innovative solutions and make advancements in all areas of the power generation sector. Because of the Texas Emerging Technology Fund, consumers will benefit more quickly from the ever expanding investments in wind power generation technologies."
Wind power will fuel more than high-paying jobs by providing incremental power production and expanding rural community and school district tax receipts. When combined with other forms of energy, wind power expands energy independence and extends Texas' global energy leadership.
NIRE will receive $2M in support of its plans to design, construct and operate research wind farms, selling the power generated in the commercial marketplace to fund a non-profit research center. NIRE also will provide services to industry partners and offer an industry consortium, which will be managed by The Wind Alliance.
National organizations supporting NIRE include the American Wind Energy Association, The Wind Alliance and The Wind Coalition. They will be joined by as many as 30 private-sector firms with large investments in renewable energy projects.
Organizational planning support for the initiative was provided by Innovate Texas Foundation, a non-profit institution that serves as a catalyst for collaboration and transactions among universities, industry, investors and government enabling them to engage with the global economy more efficiently and effectively.
Two significant private-sector NIRE partners include Vestas Wind Systems, a leader in the wind sector with more than 40,000 turbines deployed worldwide, and Alstom Power Inc., a global leader in power generation.
"Vestas congratulates Texas Tech University for receiving support from the Texas Emerging Technology Fund," said Carsten Hein Westergaard, director of global technology for Vestas. "These funds will go a long way toward furthering public academic research in wind energy. Vestas is also committed to supporting Texas Tech in the field of wind energy research, and we look forward to a meaningful collaborative relationship."
"We are excited about the development of NIRE and appreciate the leadership of Texas Tech University in research and work force development within the wind power sector," said Philippe Cochet, senior vice president of Alstom wind and hydro business divisions. "We view our collaboration with NIRE and Texas Tech as another key step in our commitment to work with R&D leaders in the wind industry as we enter the North American market."
The National Wind Resource Center (NWRC), established by Texas Tech University, will serve as the research center with support from many of the nation's leading research universities, each utilizing its unique areas of expertise within the renewable energy sector. The consortium also includes several nationally recognized workforce development leaders. Additional information about the research center will be announced within the coming month.
Initial plans for the Texas Tech-led coalition and national institute include:
- Facilitating technology development to further decrease the cost of wind energy and other renewable energy sources and to develop and optimize energy storage technologies
- Hiring additional world-class renewable energy scientists at Texas Tech to direct research
- Purchasing mobile equipment to map wind flows and help design more efficient commercial wind farms
SOURCE: Texas Tech and National Institute for Renewable Energy