August 2, 2012
The wind energy industry provides 75,000 jobs.
Along a skyline known for colorful sunsets, the land known for oil and gas now adds wind turbines to its landscape and list of natural resources. Texas Tech University is helping area residents make the most of this opportunity.
Already an internationally recognized leader in research and education, a goal of the Wind Science & Engineering Research Center at Texas Tech University (WiSE) is to build strategic alliances with external and internal entities, to provide a network of opportunities and partnerships, such as the two-year curriculum licensing program with Western Texas College (WTC).
“The wind energy component is the first regional opportunity to develop a program that can transfer on to Texas Tech for a bachelor’s degree,” said Mike Dreith, president of Western Texas College.
The wind power industry has stimulated job growth across the West Texas economy, beginning with the first turbines in 2001, through 2006 when Texas surpassed California as the state with the most wind energy capacity, to 2012 when workers continue to pour into the region to manufacture, transport, maintain and repair wind turbines.
“There are about 75,000 people that work in the wind energy industry,” said Andy Swift, director of the Texas Wind Energy Institute at Texas Tech. “Training and educating that workforce is essential.”
Students can now begin their career track at WTC, which will then transfer seamlessly into the Texas Tech wind energy program.
“It’s the only such academic program in the United States,” said Roy Bartels, dean of College Advancement and Technology, Western Texas College. “That gives our students a real advantage and helps them enter into a field that is exploding.”
National Wind Institute (NWI) is world-renowned for conducting innovative research in the areas of wind energy, wind hazard mitigation, wind-induced damage, severe storms and wind-related economics.
NWI is also home to world-class researchers with expertise in numerous academic fields such as atmospheric science, civil, mechanical and electrical engineering, mathematics and economics, and NWI was the first in the nation to offer a doctorate in Wind Science and Engineering, and a Bachelor of Science in Wind Energy.