Headline for Featured Item #1 University ‘Flips the Switch’ on Record-Breaking Vertical-Axis Wind Turbine Installation - Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi
Texas A&M University Corpus Christi - Discover Your Island

University ‘Flips the Switch’ on Record-Breaking Vertical-Axis Wind Turbine Installation

September 21, 2012


CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi President Flavius Killebrew officially “flipped the switch” today (Friday, Sept. 21) to turn on three 20-kilowatt vertical axis wind turbines, which help make up the largest vertical-axis wind turbine installation of its kind in the United States.

The site at the main campus also includes a small 4-kilowatt campus wind turbine, which can be lowered horizontally and opened for education and research. The 20-kilowatt wind turbines are also the largest of their kind in the continental U.S.

In all, three Texas A&M-Corpus Christi locations will showcase a total of 11 wind turbines with a combined total capacity of 92 kilowatts. The turbines have real-time data collection for faculty and students in engineering to analyze on a network.

“The wind turbine project is an exciting opportunity to show how the University is emerging as a leader in renewable energy,” said Killebrew. “This initiative will not only provide students and faculty with excellent learning and research opportunities, but will open doors for future generations who want to pursue this green technology.”  

The 20-kilowatt wind turbines are 75 feet tall, while the 4-kilowatt turbines stand at 40 feet. The wind turbine locations are:

» Main campus: Four (three 20-kilowatt, one 4-kilowatt) turbines, near the Jellyfish parking lot

» Momentum Campus: Three (4-kilowatt) turbines near the Nile Drive/Ennis Joslin Road intersection

» Coastal Bend Business Innovation Center in Flour Bluff:  Four (4-kilowatt) turbines

The initiative was funded by a $955,000 Distributed Renewable Energy Technology Stimulus Grant from the State Energy Conservation Office and the U.S. Department of Energy. The University then matched $265,000 in funds, for a total of $1.2 million for the project.
The wind turbines were distributed by 3eWerks, a green company at the Coastal Bend Business Innovation Center, and manufactured by Urban Green Energy. The wind turbines were installed by Nouveau Construction and Technology Services.

According to Dr. L.D. Chen, associate dean of Engineering and Computing Sciences and director of the School of Engineering and Computing Sciences, the installed vertical axis wind turbines will create opportunities for learning, research, and innovation to apply engineering principles to real-world wind power generation.

“Small wind turbine technology is an emerging technology for distributed and community wind power generation that has seen a significant increase in installed electricity generation over the past 10 years,” said Chen. “The small wind turbines on campus are an excellent laboratory for the faculty and students to engage in wind turbine research and innovative solutions to harvest rich wind resources in our region.”

In addition to educational benefits, the wind turbine project will set an example of sustainability for the campus and the Coastal Bend. With help from the area’s unique high-speed afternoon winds, 300 tons of CO2 emissions will be displaced by the wind turbines each year.

The harvesting of wind energy for power generation will significantly increase the University’s installed capacity of renewable energy, and greatly reduce its carbon footprint. The wind turbines will produce an estimated 217,946 kilowatt hours of electricity generated from renewable resources.

For an interactive look at the wind turbines project, go to http://windenergy.tamucc.edu. To view real-time data network, go to http://CP-WindTurbine.fw.tamucc.edu.

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