Texas Tech and NNSA Join Forces in Renewable Energy Research

University partners to move ahead in wind, renewable energy research.

Texas Tech University and the National Nuclear Security Administration’s Pantex Site Office announced today (Jan. 12) the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that could result in the creation of a research wind farm on NNSA’s Pantex site and the production of wind-generated electricity that could be used to operate the Pantex Plant.

The MOU also contemplates an effort by Texas Tech to explore the feasibility of constructing a wind science research center on neighboring Texas Tech property. As a first step, the MOU calls for the completion of a feasibility study for the installation of wind turbine generators and the construction of related infrastructure.

“Working with Texas Tech is a wonderful opportunity for Pantex,” said Steve Erhart, Pantex Site office manager. “Not only will it provide a unique educational opportunity for students, but we expect this research will provide the Pantex Plant with greater access to renewable energy sources. That will help to lower our operating expenses, saving tax dollars. It shows our commitment at Pantex and across the nuclear security enterprise to responsible stewardship of our environment and effective use of taxpayer money.”

The research center envisioned in the MOU would include operational wind turbine arrays providing unique infrastructure and broad capabilities to support the nation’s long-term renewable energy goals. The installations also will provide workforce development opportunities, as well as the potential to develop and commercialize renewable energy technologies that will address the key scientific challenges facing the wind power industry.

“Texas Tech is a national leader in wind science and engineering and has enjoyed a strong partnership with Pantex and the NNSA dating back to the 1940s” said Kent Hance, chancellor of the Texas Tech University System. “The opportunity to work with Pantex to create a research wind farm is very exciting. We hope to include a large number of other academic, industrial and government partners in this effort to create a world-class research facility focused on renewable energy and education.”

The MOU will position Pantex to meet the requirements outlined by President Obama in Executive Orders 13423 and 13514, which call for the increased use of energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies within federal agencies and their respective projects. It will also help implement a core Department of Energy mission to support the development of a clean energy industry that will create millions of green jobs and promote American prosperity.

For a copy of the MOU, go to www.pantex.com and click under “Latest News.”

Pantex Plant, located 17 miles northeast of Amarillo in Carson County, is charged with maintaining the safety, security and reliability of the nation's nuclear weapons stockpile. The facility is managed and operated by B&W Pantex for the U.S. Department of Energy/National Nuclear Security Administration.

Established by Congress in 2000, NNSA is a semi-autonomous agency within the U.S. Department of Energy responsible for enhancing national security through the military application of nuclear science in the nation’s national security enterprise. NNSA maintains and enhances the safety, security, reliability and performance of the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile without nuclear testing; reduces the global danger from weapons of mass destruction; provides the U.S. Navy with safe and effective nuclear propulsion; and responds to nuclear and radiological emergencies in the U.S. and abroad.

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CONTACT: David L. Miller, vice chancellor of commercialization, Texas Tech University, (806) 252-5578 or david.l.miller@ttu.edu.