Universities Add Wind Power

by | Jan 18, 2010

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wind bigTwo universities — Southwestern University and the University of Maryland — are planning to get their electricity from wind power, while Texas Tech University has it sights set on a research wind farm in partnership with the National Nuclear Security Administration, and the University of Maine plans on designing and testing components for deep water offshore wind turbines.

Southwestern University will meet all of its electricity needs over the next 18 years from two wind farms, thanks to an agreement with the city of Georgetown, Texas. The wind power will be provided through AEP Energy Partners, a subsidiary of American Electric Power, reports North American Wind Power.

These two wind farms, comprised of 151 wind turbines, each can generate between 0.7 and 2.3 megawatts (MW) of electricity, reports North American Wind Power. The initial contract is for five years and is renewable through 2028, according to the article.

The University of Maryland plans to use the generated electricity from a long-planned $131-million wind farm project in West Virginia, reports the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Wind power developer, US Wind Force, has received site approval from state regulators and is ready to start construction on its first wind farm development as soon as a purchase agreement is signed with the university, according to the article.

US Wind Force began working on the Pinnacle project in mid-2002, and is expected to generate as much as 55 million watts of electricity, according to the newspaper.

Other universities like Harvard, William Paterson University and UNH are focused on using other types of renewable energy including solar and landfill gas.

In the area of research, the University of Maine (UMaine) has received a $12.5 million grant to help fund the construction of a laboratory that will be used for designing, prototyping and testing large structural components for deep water offshore wind turbines at the Advance Engineering Wood Composites Center, reports The Maine Campus.

The new lab, which is expected to be completed in the spring of 2011, will be the only one of its kind in the United States, reports The Maine Campus. The lab will test wood composites built to withstand harsh offshore winds and 70-meter wind blades constructed from the composite material, according to the article.

UMaine researchers estimate that Maine has 149 gigawatts (GW) of offshore wind energy within 50 miles of the coastline, reports The Maine Campus.

Also, Texas Tech University and the National Nuclear Security Administration’s (NNSA) Pantex Site Office have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that could result in the creation of a research wind farm on NNSA’s Pantex site and the production of wind-generated electricity to power the Pantex Plant, reports Newswise.

The MOU calls for a feasibility study for the installation of wind turbine generators and the construction of related infrastructure, reports Newswise.

The research center would include operational wind turbine arrays, and installations would provide workforce development opportunities, as well as the potential to develop and commercialize renewable energy technologies aimed at challenges faced by the wind power industry, reports Newswise.

In March last year, NASA announced it would partner with UC Santa Cruz and Foothill-De Anza Community College to build a green research campus in Silicon Valley.

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