Texas Tech University.

Texas Tech Receives Large DOE Competitive Grant and Private Funding for Wind Power and Forecasting Research

News Release


DATE: Sept. 20, 2010

CONTACT: Leslie Cranford, (806) 742-2136

Mid-size turbines and wind forecasting draw research dollars.

Texas Tech University is included in a $5.2 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy to advance two areas of wind power research. The announcement was made Sept. 13 by U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu.

One project will improve short-term wind forecasting, which will accelerate the use of wind power in electricity transmission networks by allowing utilities and grid operators to more accurately forecast when and where electricity will be generated from wind power. Another project aims to boost the speed and scale of mid-size wind turbine technology development and deployment.

“This is a fabulous day for Texas Tech University and our wind energy researchers in engineering,” said Taylor Eighmy, vice president for research. “Our new partnerships will be substantive as we work in the mid-sized turbine R&D space with General Dynamics SATCOM Technologies and Carter Wind. Equally importantly, we competed on the national stage for this award from the U.S. Department of Energy and we won the competition on the merits of our proposed work and the strength of our collaboration with our partners. We also will collaborate with AWS and NOAA on enhancing short term wind forecasting. This certainly is another excellent indicator for our future in wind energy innovation.”

The short-term wind forecasting project, one of two, received $2.15 million and is led by AWS Truepower. John Schroeder, director of Texas Tech’s Wind Science and Engineering Research Center, is the lead investigator on the plan which targets a region of high wind energy use in Texas. The project will assess utility system benefits with the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, which manages an electric power system with the largest amount of wind power capacity in the United States. The Truepower project team also includes North Carolina State University, the University of Oklahoma, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and consultants MESO Inc., and ICF International.

Texas Tech is the lead organization on one of three mid-size wind turbine development projects, which received the DOE award. Carter Wind and General Dynamics SATCOM Technologies are collaborators, with Stephen Ekwaro-Osire, an professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, the lead investigator. The project has a total budget of more than $10 million and aims to adapt a turbine featuring two blades with plans to compete on cost with fossil fuel power generation. Carter Wind Energy located in Wichita Falls, Texas, is an advanced wind turbine technology company that is focused on the mid-size wind turbine market. General Dynamics SATCOM Technologies brings to the collaboration its significant know-how in large engineered systems. In addition, SATCOM Technologies will provide manufacturing engineering, production tooling and manufacturing support at its Kilgore, Texas facility.

This award from the U.S. DOE follows on two other recent awards supporting wind energy research and development, an $8.4 million award from the Texas Emerging Technology Fund and more than $5 million from the National Institute for Renewable Energy (NIRE) to support turbine prototype R&D and certification.

About NIRE

NIRE is a not-for-profit, public-private collaboration committed to resolving the key scientific issues facing the renewable energy industry and to: build and operate renewable energy R&D facilities; operate an industry-wide renewable energy consortium and provide research and technology development services to industry partners in collaboration with universities and national laboratories.

For more information on the DOE’s work in this area, see the Wind & Water Power Program Web page.

CONTACT: Leslie Cranford, senior editor, Texas Tech University, (806) 742-2136 or leslie.cranford@ttu.edu.