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U gets funding for wind-energy research

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The University of Minnesota and two other universities have been selected to be part of a “wind energy consortium.”

The university will receive $8 million, as part of federal stimulus legislation, from the Department of Energy for wind-energy research.

“This project will help ensure Minnesota continues to lead the nation in developing new technology for the growing energy economy,” Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar said in a statement.  “By investing in energy efficiency projects, we can cut energy costs, put Minnesotans to work, and reduce our dependence on foreign oil.”

The university will use the funding to install a new turbine research facility to study mechanical-power transmission and electric-generator systems, according to Klobuchar.

The educational initiatives under the plan include new undergraduate and graduate programs and student internships with industrial partners.

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Comments (1)

Wind is the primary renewable energy being counted on to replace coal for electric power. But the U.S. Energy Information Administration(EIA) is forecasting just over 2% of electric energy from erratic wind in 2020.
Denmark is widely touted to get 20-30% of its grid energy from wind. The actual 5 year average from 2004 to 2008 is 9.7%. Much of the wind from Denmark’s 5600 turbines can’t be used at the time it is generated, and it is exported to Norway and Sweden at below Denmark’s cost. Norway and Sweden can cycle their hydroelectric power to use some of the Denmark excess, acting as a kind of battery for Denmark’s wind.
Texas has 8,000 wind megawatts(MW), 3 times the wind capacity of any other state. The Electric Reliability Council of Texas(ERCOT) manages the Texas electric grid. ERCOT reports that its unpredictable wind farms can provide only 708MW during peak summer power demand, and so wind supplies just 1% of Texas power needs of 72,000MW. ERCOT's 2015 forecast still has wind at a little over 1%. The MN legislature demand for 25% wind from Excel seems to be a dream.