Mesalands Dedicates New Wind Power Center

Mesalands Community College has formally dedicated its new 26,000-square-foot North American Wind Research and Training Center (NAWRTC) with words of encouragement and praise from national, state, and local politicians.

In attendance were notables including U.S. Sen. Tom Udall and New Mexico Sen. Clinton Harden. Both gave praises for the bold move made by Mesalands as it sets the standard for research and training in wind energy technology.

At the dedication, Sen. Udall praised the College for taking a leadership role in training students for jobs in renewable energy.

“The new North American Wind Research and Training Center will increase economic development by training students for clean energy jobs for today and for the future,” Udall said.

Others offering remarks at the dedication included New Mexico Representative Dennis Roch; Secretary of State Mary Herrera; New Mexico Energy Minerals and Natural Resources Department Cabinet Secretary Jim Noel; State Director for United States Senator Jeff Bingaman, Greg Bloom; Field Representative for United States Congressman Ben Ray Lujan, Ron Wilmot; Vice President of Economic Development and International Programs, American Association of Community Colleges, James McKenney; Acting Manager, Wind and Water Power Technologies, Sandia National Laboratories, Bridget McKenney; Mesalands Community College Board of Trustees Vice Chair Jimmy Sandoval; and City of Tucumcari Mayor Jim Witcher.

In addition, memorandums of understanding (MOU) for research were signed by Dr. Richard Wirz, Assistant Professor, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department from the University of California; Dr. David Peters, Professor of Engineering from Washington State University; and Dr. Michael Hensley, Director, Special Projects Research and Economic Development Division from the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology.

The new Wind Center at Mesalands provides state-of-the-art facilities for training qualified students in wind energy technology and ample space to host cutting-edge research.

The Wind Center includes the College’s General Electric 1.5 megawatt wind turbine located adjacent to the facility. The Center has a blade maintenance complex with high bay doors at each side for pull-through capabilities of trucks carrying 120 foot wind turbines blades. The Center also contains electric and electromechanical laboratories, an 84-seat inclined lecture hall, portable industrial classrooms, a conference room, a student lounge, and offices.

The new Wind Center has many energy-efficient capabilities, making this facility a perfect candidate to receive Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEEDS) Silver Certification. This Center has water-efficient landscaping and an abundance of windows and skylights. The Center will also be powered by the College’s turbine.

The new Wind Center was made possible through a $7 million bond Mesalands received from the New Mexico General Obligation Bond recommended by the New Mexico Legislature in the spring of 2008 and approved by the public in November 2008.