September 8, 2010
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.
Texas Tech, industry and research partners are poised to power up their first of several planned renewable energy test facilities to help resolve key scientific and technology issues facing the wind power and broader clean energy industries.
The first wind turbines will be placed at Reese Technology Center in Lubbock, where a groundbreaking for the research farm is currently being planned and will be announced in the coming weeks.
The National Institute for Renewable Energy (NIRE), a public-private partnership formed earlier this year by the Innovate Texas Foundation with collaborative support from Texas Tech, will design, construct and operate the research wind farm and provide research access to Texas Tech and the National Wind Resource Center (NWRC), a non-profit research center. As strategic research partners to Texas Tech, South Plains Electric Co-Op in coordination with Golden Spread Electric will purchase the power generated through this effort.
Established by Texas Tech, the NWRC will centralize the research, with support from many of the nation's leading research universities, each utilizing its unique areas of expertise within the renewable energy sector.
The initial research goals of the NWRC are to tackle the three main challenges faced nationally in the wind power industry: enhancing the performance and reliability of wind power, decreasing the cost of wind power and addressing power storage issues.
"There are several new turbine technologies we plan to deploy at the Reese Technology Center," said David L. Miller, chairman of the NIRE Board of Directors. "We are also currently evaluating several additional sites for the deployment of a scalable energy storage solution."
In July the Texas Emerging Technology Fund awarded $8.4 million to Texas Tech to support the launch of NIRE and NWRC. Additionally, national organizations supporting NIRE include the American Wind Energy Association, 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.
The Innovate Texas Foundation is 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.
The Reese Technology Center is a regional world-class, high technology research, educational training, and business community by generating capital and intellectual wealth. Reese Technology Center consists of a main campus centered in education, research, engineering and technology, and an airfield comprised of three runways.