Texas Center Eyes Building A Better Wind Farm

Pete Danko for EarthTechling Image: The new SWiFT research facility (image via Texas Tech University) On the wind-swept plain of the Texas panhandle, government, academic and industry researchers are now taking on the challenge of making wind power better, with a particular focus on the hugely important question of how turbines arrayed in a group affect each other. “Some estimates show that 10 to 40 percent of wind energy production and revenue is lost due to complex wind plant interaction,” said Jon White, Sandia National Laboratory’s technical lead for the just-commissioned research center at Texas TechUniversity, dubbed SWiFT, for Scaled Wind Farm Technology. Wake energy loss and wake-induced loads are the kinds of thing that can be simulated and studied with sophisticated computer programs. But at SWiFT, reseachers have actually turbines installed in the field, three to start with more possibly to come, to work with. There are also two 60-meter weather tower…
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