August 3, 2009
An initiative to drive the booming West Texas wind industry moved forward in Congress recently when a committee approved a bill to spend $200 million annually on wind-energy research.
The House Science and Technology Committee passed the Wind Energy Research and Development Act of 2009 to establish a research and development program to cut construction, generation and maintenance costs.
A West Texas congressman supported the bill and added an amendment that could bring a demonstration wind farm to the Lone Star state.
“My amendment will specifically require the Department of Energy, as they study wind energy, to collaborate not only with industry but also include leaders in academia to measure performances in varied wind conditions across the country,” said Rep. Randy Neugebauer, a Lubbock Republican on the committee.
A professor from Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Andrew Swift, testified in mid-July on Capitol Hill about the importance of studying how the wind flows through wind farms.
Neugebauer’s amendment also specifies the program fund research to study the wake effect between upwind and downwind turbines — something emphasized by Swift, director of the Wind Science and Engineering Research Center at Tech.