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Texas Tech Announces Formation of National Institute For Renewable Energy

NIRE will address the future energy needs of Texas and the nation through research wind farms.

Written by Leslie Cranford

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 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.

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
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9 Responses to “Texas Tech Announces Formation of National Institute For Renewable Energy”

  1. Md Rakib Uddin Says:

    That is awesome for Texas Tech, Texas and for the nation. But I also belive Texas Tech can also play a major role in Solar Electricity as we have good research right now and this area is blessed with lots of sun light. I believe TTU administration will ofcus on intensive research on it and add solar energy with wind in the program NIRE.

  2. JAMES RENFRO Says:

    DO NOT FORGET THAT A MAIN ISSUE WITH THE NEW SYSTEMS OF ENERGY IS TRANSFER/DISTRIBUTION. ENERGY TRANSFER WILL DEPEND ON AN INCREASE IN TRANSMISSION LINES AND IN TRANSMISSION LINE TECHNOLOGY AND DISTRIBUTION. MR. T BONE PICKENS HAS IT JUST ABOUT RIGHT GET HIM TO ADDRESS THE ISSUES WITH YOU.
    THE INSTITUTE SHOULD NOT CONCENTRATE ON THE HIGH TECH STUFF ALONE WHILE FORGETTING THE MUNDANE BUT JUST IMPORTANT ISSUES
    WAY BACK IN 1959 WHEN I GRADUATED FROM TECH EE WE WERE TALKING ABOUT LOW LOSS TRANSMISSION LINES BUT I SEE LITTLE OF THE RESULTS TODAY
    JIM RENFRO CLASS 59

  3. Jim S. Green Says:

    My thinking is that many alumni would be interested in supporting this type of orginization. They could contribute funds and or political support in all parts of the country provided some effort on the part of NIRE is made to reach them and get them involved. I live in Austin Texas and could lobby the state legislature and keep them informed of progress as would benifit the orginization. Technical articles would be a delight to the engineering “Grey Beards” who are out here in the world.
    The interest shown in Austin for the progress of wind, solar and other Green-Energy could aid in promoting NIRE provided some effort is initiated gain publicity.
    Congratulations to the founders of this much needed originization which appears to be a right action in a right time.

  4. TrueCapital Says:

    West Texas has already proven its commitment towards US’s energy independence, and this is just another step in the right direction. As TrueCapital provides Consulting services to Indian government for implementing its clean energy initiatives based upon proven models in Texas, we would be glad to make NIRE TC’s one-stop shop for Development of Wind projects, guidance on Education initiatives, etc.

    Furthermore, NIRE’s association with TTU, Innovation Texas, The Wind Alliance, etc. makes it an even more convincing proposition to TrueCapital, as we plan to launch our debut Private Equity Fund, focused upon clean energy investments in India and Texas. NIRE can prove to be TC’s point of contact for providing industry contacts and other leads, who may be interested in investing (LPs) in TC’s Fund.

    TC congratulates David Miller in his new role as NIRE Chair, and looks forward to working with NIRE’s able team, including accomplished professionals as Mark Harral. Thank you.

  5. R Stephens Says:

    To add to what James was saying … Some wind farms in Canada are using excess energy that can not be put on the grid to split water. The Hydrogen is compressed and stored for bulk pickup. ( was never told what they do with the O2 ) This gives the farm the advantage of never having to go to idel do to grid limitations. Waste not, want not…

  6. Elmer L. Wilson Says:

    A positive step for all entities involved, yes. But, could this “news” not have been at least one Decade past? We Americans, to me, are so stuck in our supposed systems and traditions, that, I can’t help believing that all this is simply some sort of “tag line” instead of an absolute, honest effort to move beyond carbon-based fuel sources. The Chinese, Europeans and others are years ahead of us in taking these steps! Very sad.

  7. Trish Phelps Says:

    The Universtiy of Minnesota at Morris has developed a process for using wind turbine energy to produce anhydrous ammonia fertilizer to supply farmers in the vicinity at a below-market price. There is no end to the applications of excess wind turbine energy that remain unexplored.

  8. robert f baker Says:

    Thank You! For your leadership

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