NIRE, Texas Tech University (TTU), industrial and research partners will soon power up the first of several planned renewable energy test and production facilities to help resolve key issues facing the wind power and broader clean energy industries.
The first wind turbines will be placed at Reese Technology Center in Lubbock, Texas. Work is now underway on the large-scale wind turbine platform planned for completion later this year. The installation will serve to aid in certification and further development of new technologies from several multinational corporations in the wind and renewable energy sectors.
TTU and the National Wind Resource Center (NWRC), a non-profit research center supported by many of the nation’s leading research universities, will have research access. NWRC is initially focused on solutions to the three main challenges faced nationally in the wind power industry: enhancing the performance and reliability of wind power, decreasing the cost of wind power and addressing power storage issues.
South Plains Electric Co-Op in coordination with Golden Spread Electric will purchase the power generated at the wind farm. The collaboration with industry partners is expected to support several hundred full-time engineering, production and technical support jobs in Texas.
"There are several new turbine technologies we plan to deploy at the Reese Technology Center," said David L. Miller, chairman of the NIRE Board of Directors. "We are evaluating additional sites for a scalable energy storage solution and anticipate multiple installations in the future. By integrating state, federal and commercial investment, we are working to further energy independence for the U.S. and to provide solutions to the global renewable energy community."
Building upon the momentum of current and planned renewable energy projects associated with NIRE, last week U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced a $5.2 million competitive grant award from the U.S. Department of Energy, with TTU faculty as the lead academic investigators with a number of collaborating academic and industrial partners. The grant is aimed at advancing wind energy forecasting and midsize wind turbine research.