Texas Tech Forms National Institute for Renewable Energy

The Texas Tech University System, the Innovate Texas Foundation, and The Wind Alliance announced on May 24 the formation of the National Institute for Renewable Energy (NIRE), an independent public-private collaboration that will work to solve key scientific and technology challenges facing the wind power industry.

NIRE will operate a for-profit business component that will design, construct and operate research wind farms, selling the power generated in the commercial marketplace to fund a non-profit research center. NIRE also will provide services to industry partners and offer an industry consortium that will be managed by The Wind Alliance.

Organizational planning and support for the initiative was provided by Innovate Texas Foundation, a non-profit institution that serves as a catalyst for collaboration and transactions among universities, industry, investors and government enabling them to engage with the global economy more efficiently and effectively.

National organizations indicating support for NIRE include the American Wind Energy Association, The Wind Alliance and The Wind Coalition. They will be joined by as many as 30 private-sector firms with large investments in renewable energy projects.

The National Wind Resource Center (NWRC), established by Texas Tech University, will serve as the research center for the initiative with support from many of the nation’s leading research universities, each using its unique areas of expertise within the renewable energy sector. The consortium also includes several nationally recognized workforce development leaders.

Initial plans for the Texas Tech-led coalition and national institute include:

  • Facilitating technology development to further decrease the cost of wind energy and other renewable energy sources and to develop and optimize energy storage technologies;
  • Hiring additional world-class renewable energy scientists at Texas Tech to direct research; and
  • Purchasing mobile equipment to map wind flows and help design more efficient commercial wind farms.