Texas Tech Announces Formation of National Institute For Renewable Energy

The Texas Tech University System, the Innovate Texas Foundation, and The Wind Alliance, announced today the formation of the National Institute for Renewable Energy (NIRE), an independent public-private collaboration that will work to solve key scientific and technology challenges facing the wind power industry. The announcement came during the American Wind Energy Association’s (AWEA) Windpower 2010 conference in Dallas.

NIRE will operate a for-profit business component that will 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. Start-up funding for NIRE has been derived from many of the economic development organizations in West Texas.

“Texas Tech is nationally recognized as a leader in wind-energy research,” said Texas Tech University System Chancellor Kent Hance. “We are grateful to be associated with this collaboration to address the future energy needs of our state and nation. As our country moves toward energy independence, Texas Tech will continue to develop innovative solutions and make advancements in all areas of the power generation sector.”

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.

Organizational planning and 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.

National organizations indicating support for NIRE include the AWEA, 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.

“Vestas Wind Systems congratulates Texas Tech University on the formation of NIRE,” said Carsten Hein Westergaard, director of global technology for Vestas. “This initiative 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.”

Philippe Cochet, senior vice president of Alstom Power’s Wind and Hydro business divisions, said, “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. 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 for the initiative 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.

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