AEI Named Proposed Site for Nation’s Largest Wind Turbine
The Alternative Energy Institute (AEI) at West Texas A&M University has been involved in wind energy research for more than 30 years and will soon get the chance to show its prowess as the proposed site for the installation of a new generation of wind turbine.
The Texas A&M University System and Gamesa Technology Corp. (Gamesa) signed an agreement May 24 with the intention to install a Gamesa G10X at WTAMU’s Nance Ranch in coordination with the Energy Engineering Institute and the Alternative Energy Institute of the A&M System. The Gamesa G10X, also known as the G128, will be the largest of its kind in the country. The 4.5-megawatt turbine will have a higher tower height and a larger rotor diameter (420 feet/128 meters) than existing land based turbines to access better wind resources and further increase production capability.
With the signing, A&M System and Gamesa officials have initiated a long-term agreement in which The Texas A&M University System, through its multiple members, will conduct ongoing research and testing for Gamesa’s energy-related projects. System members include the Texas Engineering Experiment Station (Energy Engineering Institute), Texas A&M University, West Texas A&M University (Alternative Energy Institute) and the Texas Transportation Institute. The initial collaboration will involve installation of the Gamesa G10X.
“West Texas A&M University is ideally located for the testing of wind turbines, with not only abundant, but the most consistent wind in the country,” Dr. Vaughn Nelson, director of WTAMU’s AEI, said. “We have been engaged in wind energy research and standards development for over 30 years, and are committed to continued leadership in these activities.”
The 4.5-megawatt platform G10X is Gamesa’s most ambitious program and is the industry’s most powerful on-shore product to date. It has a tower height more than 30 percent taller than the Statue of Liberty. Its state-of-the-art proprietary control technology and blade design will enable the G10X to produce a 50 percent greater generating capacity than the current technology with greater efficiency at a reduced noise level. Each G10X, when connected to the grid, will add power output equivalent to the annual consumption of more than 3,000 homes.
AEI, located on a 40-acre site at the University’s Nance Ranch, was established at WTAMU in 1977 as an outgrowth of wind energy research begun in 1970. AEI’s mission is to conduct research and development in the use of alternative sources of energy including wind, solar and biomass. AEI’s program includes data collection, research and feasibility studies, developing and testing prototype systems, establishing a center for collection and distribution of information and education of students and others through research, seminars and courses.