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June 24, 2010

AEI Wins SECO Award for Research Facility

The Alternative Energy Institute has received an award of $497,350 from the State Energy Conservation Office for the installation of renewable energy systems at the Palo Duro Research Facility and at the feed mill at the WTAMU Nance Ranch (Regional Wind Test Center).

The total project cost is around $622,000. The state provided money for renewable energy projects with funding provided through federal ARRA funds. For more information, click here.

Staff Working on the Project:

  • Project Director, Dr. Byungik Chang, Director AEI
  • Principal Investigator, Ken Starcher, Assistant Director AEI

The project, involving solar and wind electricity, will consist of two components:

  1. Photovoltaics (PV), 48 kW for the Palo Duro Research Center.
  2. Wind, 50 kW for the feed mill at the WTAMU, Nance Ranch.

The objectives is to reduce electric consumption at WTAMU through use of renewable energy, as well as providing information on performance and economics of the systems. Information on both systems will be disseminated to the public and business entities through seminars and display areas.

Systems will provide electricity for use on-site and systems also displace the production of carbon dioxide from the conventional power plants.

One proposed system will have two 4 kW tracker units, and 40 kW of fixed tilt, flat plate PV. The PV system will generate an estimated 80,000 kWh/yr.

AEI will also install a 50 kW, 49 ft diameter wind turbine, on a 120 ft tower. The system will generate an estimated 175,000 kWh/yr.

June 1, 2010

WT to test 50-story wind turbine

From The Amarillo Globe-News:

West Texas A&M University became part of a push Monday to raise expectations for a Spanish company’s wind turbines – machines that could double the power production of today’s standard turbines.

“It will be fundamental research like how to make a better blade with light, robust material, testing aerodynamics, the integrity of blades,” said Theresa Maldonado, associate vice chancellor for research of the Texas A&M University System and director of the Energy Engineering Institute, which will participate.

Gamesa Technology, based in Spain, signed contracts Monday with A&M and several affiliated entities calling for research on energy projects, including a turbine rated at a production capacity of 4.5 megawatts to be installed at WT’s Nance Ranch. The company itself only makes a 2-megawatt turbine now and most land-based turbines don’t exceed that.

Click here to read more.

May 24, 2010

Local News: Texas A&M University System and Gamesa Technology Corp. Announce Plan to Collaborate on Nation’s Largest Wind Turbine

From Alt Energy Mag, concerning WTAMU’s own Regional Wind Test Center:

The Texas A&M University System and Gamesa Technology Corp. (Gamesa) announced an agreement today with the intention to install a new generation of wind turbine at West Texas A&M University, coordinated jointly by the Energy Engineering Institute and the Alternative Energy Institute of the A&M System. The Gamesa G10X (also known as the G128) would be the largest of its kind in the country, while providing substantial advances in production output, energy efficiency and noise reduction.

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 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 turbine that has a higher tower height and a larger rotor diameter (420 feet/128 meters) than existing land based turbines, which allows it to access better wind resources that further increase its production capability.

Click here or visit Gamesa’s official web site to read more.

May 5, 2010

Firm applies for route: PUC to review transmission line plan from Cross Texas

Filed under: News,Texas News,Wind Energy — Tags: , , , , — admin @ 10:13 am

From the Amarillo Globe-News:

Cross Texas Transmission says the statistics are convincing and is asking the state Public Utility Commission what it thinks about the company’s preferred route for the first transmission line in the Panhandle solely devoted to moving wind energy.

Cross Texas applied Monday for permission to build the segment from a substation southeast of Childress to one southwest of Lefors. The PUC will include its choice for the route when it rules on the application. That choice does not have to be Cross Texas’ preferred route.

The distance between the points wind farms will plug into the system is 82.2 miles along a straight line, but avoiding obstacles and following existing rights of way stretched the preferred route to 94.9 miles. Some of the alternatives Cross Texas discarded were as long as 110 miles.

Click here for more information (and to see the map).

November 19, 2009

Wind energy conference touts opportunities for agriculture

Texas A&M’s AgriLife has a great write-up our own Dr. Vaughn Nelson and the future of Wind Energy…

Texas farmers and ranchers likely will see more opportunities come about in the future when it comes to wind energy, according to a Texas A&M System expert.

Dr. Vaughn Nelson, professor emeritus and director of the Alternative Energy Institute at West Texas A&M University, predicts small wind systems, those that produce one kilowatt up to 100 kilowatts or more, will receive more interest in the future when it comes to generating power for the farm and ranch, as well as tapping into potential power markets.

“My personal opinion is we may see in the future a farmer or rancher go to a banker some day and say they want to finance a wind turbine just like they would a farm implement,” Nelson said. “They would pay that off in five to seven years, (then be in a profitable situation.)”

Nelson was a panel speaker recently at the Texas/European Union Wind Energy Symposium sponsored by the European Union Center at Texas A&M University in College Station. Co-sponsors included Texas AgriLife Research.

Read the rest (and watch the video!) here!

AEI accepts TXSES donation to the Starcher-Nelsom Renewable Energy Scholarship

Filed under: Education,Local News,News,Texas News — Tags: , , — admin @ 3:26 pm

AEI appreciates the donation of $1,000 by The Texas Solar Energy Society (TXSES) to the Starcher-Nelson Renewable Energy Scholarship.

TXSES in a non-profit with a long history of solar energy and renewable energy outreach education. Founded in 1976, TXSES has been serving Texas for more than 30 years, and has developed a national reputation due to their higher profile projects. These projects include the 11th annual Renewable Energy Roundup and Sustainable Living Fair in Fredericksburg in late Sept 2010, the largest sustainability event in the South.  TXSES will also co-produce the 14th annual Austin Cool House Tour with Austin Energy Green Building on June 6, 2010. And because of an invitation from the town of Salado, they will produce the first Renewable Energy Stampede and Green Living Fair in that fair city April 17 & 18, 2010.

TXSES is part of the American Solar Energy Society and has chapters in Houston, North Texas, El Paso, Austin and San Antonio.

The Starcher-Nelson Renewable Energy Scholarship is an excellent fit for the TXSES mission to increase the awareness of all renewable energy applications and promote the wise use of sustainable and non-polluting resources.

August 21, 2009

AEI & Class 4 Winds Talk Wind on KGNC-AM

Class 4 Winds and AEI’s Ken Starcher will be discussing wind energy and wind power development in the Panhandle on KGNC-AM. The show starts at 10 AM, and you can listen to it live here! (You’ll need to sign up to KGNC-AM’s Listener Club first.)

August 19, 2009

Texas News: Panhandle has wind energy potential

Filed under: Local News,News,Texas News,Wind Energy — Tags: , , , , — admin @ 4:15 pm

We got  this bit of news from Class 4 Winds… some information on Wind Energy development in the Panhandle, and why it hasn’t been going faster, courtesy of the Plainview Daily Herald. Here’s an excerpt from the article:

FLOYDADA ( Aug. 17, 2009) – Landowners in the panhandle of Texas know the wind blows and many of them are starting to question why they haven’t seen more wind energy development in the area. At a recent meeting held in Floyd County, experts reassured landowners that there is still potential for wind energy development.

Richard Amato, president and CEO of Venti Energy and wind subcommittee chair for the Texas Renewable Energy Industries Association (TREIA) was the first speaker at Caprock Plains Wind Energy Association’s (CPWEA) annual membership meeting. Amato presented the attendees with a wind industry update, explaining that wind energy development in Texas has come a long way but it still has the potential to grow.

Click here to read the rest!

July 8, 2009

Texas News: Pickens paring down wind farm project

Filed under: News,Texas News,Wind Energy — Tags: , , , — admin @ 4:48 pm

This one was found by our friends at Class 4 Winds. Here’s a story about T. Boone Pickens and his wind farm project from the Dallas Morning News.

T. Boone Pickens’ plan to build the world’s largest wind farm is off.

Instead, Pickens said he will build five or six smaller wind farms, in the Midwest and possibly Texas, though he hasn’t settled on locations.

Last year, Pickens announced that he would build a 1,000-megawatt wind farm in Pampa, Texas. The problem a lack of a transmission line to bring the juice to population centers, Pickens said in an interview last week.

“I don’t think the first place we build, though, is where we thought we would because we don’t have the transmission,” he said.

Remember that idea he had to build his own transmission line? “It was a little more complicated than we thought,” he said.

You can read the rest of the article (and other Pickens news) here.

June 19, 2009

Amarillo College looks to add solar energy program

The Amarillo Globe-News has a story up about Amarillo College‘s attempts to start a solar program. AEI’s Ken Starcher offers his opinion on the issue. Here’s an excerpt:

Amarillo College is seeking nearly $900,000 from the National Science Foundation to add solar energy education as a program at its Amarillo and Dumas campuses.Such a program would partner with AC’s growing wind energy programs, which regents approved in September.

“It would allow us to add to our renewable energy culture,” said Danita McAnally, AC’s dean of assessment and development.

The college’s final grant application is due Oct. 15, but college officials have started the application process.

“You have to do a preliminary submission, which we’ve done,” McAnally said. “We haven’t heard anything back from the preliminary application yet.”

AC officials expect to hear an answer by early 2010, McAnally said. The money would be distributed over three years.

“In Texas, there’s not a complete curriculum in solar energy at community colleges,” McAnally said.

Ken Starcher, director of the Alternative Energy Institute at West Texas A&M University, said training programs for renewable energy of any kind are few and far between across the country.

“Amarillo College is doing the right thing,” Starcher said. “They’re looking forward and saying ‘Where’s the need?'”

You can read the rest of the story here.

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