Texas Tech Receives $1.4 Million from Department of Energy for Wind Research
The U.S. Department of Energy has granted $1.4 million to researchers at Texas Tech in Lubbock, Texas to develop radar technology that will help provide better measurements of the complex flow conditions present in wind plants. This is an important project, as it’s a big step in the direction of more efficient wind plants.
“This project is a testament to our researchers’ commitment to better understand and harness wind energy, and to enhance the methods this technology could have on society,” Texas Tech President M. Duane Nellis said.
The research is being conducted by the same team that pioneered the use of radar for wind farms several years ago. Now, they’re focusing on developing a new prototype that would allow for greater availability of data and allow for semi-autonomous operations of plants. Data maximization and utilization, as noted very frequently as of late, will play a large part in the future growth of renewable energy.
In wind’s case, data about wind flow conditions in a wind plant would allow for proactive measures to be taken to maximize the plant’s efficiency, ensuring it harnesses the most power possible.
According to John Schroeder, a professor of atmospheric sciences at Texas Tech, this is absolutely vital to the growth of the wind industry, as in the end, it will ultimately help cut costs.
“Wind farms are not putting out as much power as we would expect from them,” he said. “With a better understanding of how turbines interact with each other, we may be able to make small adjustments that could be worth millions of dollars.”
Schroeder believes that the biggest potential use for their research would be to upgrade existing wind farms. Also, the data could be used to better deploy turbines, ensuring they’re operating as their maximum capacity from the day they’re deployed.
The research is expected to last for 18 months.
“Our goal is to finish the blueprint for commercialization of this technology, and place it in the hands of users in the industry,” Schroeder said. “If successful, it wouldn’t take long to have a positive impact on lowering the cost of wind energy.”
All but two UK regions failing on school energy efficiency
Most schools are still "treading water" on implementing energy efficient technology, according to new analysis of Government data from eLight.
Yorkshire & the Humber and the North East are the only regions where schools have collectively reduced how much they spend on energy per pupil, cutting expenditure by 4.4% and 0.9% respectively. Every other region of England increased its average energy expenditure per pupil, with schools in Inner London doing so by as much as 23.5%.
According to The Carbon Trust, energy bills in UK schools amount to £543 million per year, with 50% of a school’s total electricity cost being lighting. If every school in the UK implemented any type of energy efficient technology, over £100 million could be saved each year.
Harvey Sinclair, CEO of eEnergy, eLight’s parent company, said the figures demonstrate an uncomfortable truth for the education sector – namely that most schools are still treading water on the implementation of energy efficient technology. Energy efficiency could make a huge difference to meeting net zero ambitions, but most schools are still lagging behind.
“The solutions exist, but they are not being deployed fast enough," he said. "For example, we’ve made great progress in upgrading schools to energy-efficient LED lighting, but with 80% of schools yet to make the switch, there’s an enormous opportunity to make a collective reduction in carbon footprint and save a lot of money on energy bills. Our model means the entire project is financed, doesn’t require any upfront expenditure, and repayments are more than covered by the energy savings made."
He said while it has worked with over 300 schools, most are still far too slow to commit. "We are urging them to act with greater urgency because climate change won’t wait, and the need for action gets more pressing every year. The education sector has an important part to play in that and pupils around the country expect their schools to do so – there is still a huge job to be done."
North Yorkshire County Council is benefiting from the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme, which has so far awarded nearly £1bn for energy efficiency and heat decarbonisation projects around the country, and Craven schools has reportedly made a successful £2m bid (click here).
The Department for Education has issued 13 tips for reducing energy and water use in schools.