Winds of change to spread

From Texas to the border of Canada, 12 states generate 90 percent of U.S. onshore wind power.’

Each state is doing its own form of wind energy testing, and proposals have been drafted to broaden the Lone Star Wind Alliance to include more of these states.’

‘This is a tremendous potential for UH to be a major player in renewable energy under the Obama Administration,’ UH Vice President of Research Don Birx said.’

The UH-led Lone Star Wind Alliance is part of the UH Energy Initiative that UH President Renu Khator outlined as one way ‘to stay on the cutting edge of the energy industry.’

The Wind Alliance partnership includes universities, government agencies and private industries to make wind a sustainable power industry.’

Birx said the alliance is one way the University can reach the goal of obtaining flagship status.’

‘The Wind Alliance gives UH an opportunity to take a leadership position working with businesses, universities and the public sector,’ Birx said.’

The Wind Alliance began in 2007 when the U.S. Department of Energy awarded UH a blade test facility cooperative research and development agreement. The purpose of the agreement was to design, build and operate new facilities to test the next generation of large wind turbine blades.’

The alliance is composed of 10 universities including University of Texas, Texas A&M, Rice University and Texas Tech, along with 14 companies including Shell Wind, British Petroleum, Dow Industry and Horizon Wind. The Texas Work Force, State Energy Conservation Office and the West Texas Wind Coalition are three of seven public sectors represented in the Wind Alliance.’

‘UH is the general manager of the Wind Alliance,’ Birx said. ‘We coordinate the whole process into an integrated development of wind power.”

The governance portion of the Wind Alliance represents all the universities, industries and public sector to reach the main goal, which is to transform the wind industry into one that is cost-competitive with other forms of power generation, Birx said.’

‘The Wind Alliance is designed to support the systematic development of infrastructure, technology and work force for a world-class wind energy industry,’ Birx said.’

Along with the Health Initiative and the Arts Initiative, the proposed expansion of the LSWA as part of the Energy Initiative will aid the push to propel UH to flagship status.

‘The Energy Initiative will facilitate relationships with industry partners to understand their needs and grow our capacity to provide the workforce, the technologies and the business innovations needed by Houston not only to compete, but also to lead the energy industry globally,’ Khator said Monday at an energy luncheon.

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