With today’s signing ceremony at the 2010 American Wind Energy Association WINDPOWER Conference and Exhibition, A&M System and Gamesa officials have initiated a long-term agreement in which the system, through its multiple members, will conduct ongoing research and testing for Gamesa’s wind energy-related projects.
System members include the Texas Engineering Experiment Station (Energy Engineering Institute), Texas A&M University, West Texas A&M (Alternative Energy Institute) and the Texas Transportation Institute. The initial collaboration will involve installation of the Gamesa G10X, a 4.5-megawatt wind turbine that has a higher tower height and a larger rotor diameter (420 feet/128 meters) than existing land based wind turbines, which allows it to access better wind resources that further increase its production capability.
"Providing the innovations necessary to secure an efficient, high volume energy supply for our future is one of the most critical tasks before the world’s researchers today," said Dr. Theresa Maldonado, associate vice chancellor for research of the A&M System and director of the E2I.
"Great strides are being made in renewable energy resources, but the greatest challenge to their widespread use remains the limited capacity they currently generate. The A&M System is uniquely configured through its long history in energy research and its specialized facilities to address challenges in the wind energy industry. The Energy Engineering Institute is positioned to coordinate these R&D activities."
Dr. Vaughn Nelson, director of the Alternative Energy Institute said, "West Texas A&M University is ideally located for the testing of wind turbines, with not only abundant, but the most consistent wind in the country. We have been engaged in wind energy research and standards development for over 30 years, and are committed to continued leadership in these activities."
"Recognized for its worldwide reputation for conducting research and finding breakthrough technology, we look forward to this collaboration with Texas A&M," said Dirk Matthys, CEO of Gamesa. "This key relationship represents another milestone for Gamesa as we continue to grow and enhance our research programs to advance wind turbine technology in the U.S."
The 4.5-megawatt platform G10X is Gamesa’s most ambitious program and is the industry’s most powerful on-shore product to date. It has a tower height more than 30 percent taller than the Statue of Liberty. With its state-of-the-art proprietary control technology and blade design, the G10X will be able to produce a 50 percent greater generating capacity than the current technology, with both greater efficiency and at a reduced noise level. Each G10X, when connected to the grid, will add power output equivalent to the annual consumption of more than 3,000 homes.
"We are extremely excited about this new industry partnership with Gamesa and the opportunity to advance the university’s growing contributions to wind energy research. These strategic collaborations are critical to solving real-world challenges and advancing our commitment to providing economic development for the state of Texas," said Dr. Jeffrey R. Seemann, vice president for research and graduate studies at Texas A&M University.
"This agreement is a model for innovation economic development reflecting the university-business synergy that is so prevalent in The Research Valley. We pledge our full support to Gamesa and E2I in the establishment of a world-class partnership that will have a major impact on the future of wind energy technologies," said Todd E. McDaniel, president and CEO of The Research Valley Partnership, who attended today’s signing ceremony.
Construction will take place at the Alternative Energy Institute Regional Wind Test Center at Nance Ranch, a West Texas A&M research facility at Canyon, Texas.
The A&M System is one of the largest systems of higher education in the nation, with a budget of $3.2 billion. Through a statewide network of 11 universities, seven state agencies and a comprehensive health science center, the A&M System educates nearly 115,000 students and makes more than 22 million additional educational contacts through service and outreach programs each year. Externally funded research expenditures exceed $730 million and help drive the state’s economy.
Gamesa specializes in developing technologies to further energy sustainability, mainly wind power. With a global installed base of over 18,000 megawatts, Gamesa is well positioned among the world’s leading wind turbine manufacturers.
Gamesa is also a world leader in the development, construction and sale of wind farms, having installed over 3,600 megawatts, and it owns a portfolio of 22,000 megawatts of wind farms at varying stages of development in Europe, America and Asia. Gamesa started operations in the US in 2005. It has two manufacturing plants in Pennsylvania employing 1,000 people, with combined production capacity of 1,200 megawatts. The company employs over 6,300 people worldwide and has production facilities in Europe, the USA, China and India with a total capacity of 4,400 megawatts per year.