Secretary Chu Applauds New Wind Turbines in Illinois Dedicated to Research, Education, and Workforce Development in Wind Energy

July 20, 2011

U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu issued the following statement in support of the commissioning of two new wind turbines by the Illinois Institute of Technology-led Consortium for Wind Energy Research, Education, and Workforce Development. The turbines commissioned today will be used for research projects and will help raise public awareness about wind energy. The U.S. Department of Energy funds the Consortium's efforts with $7.9 million under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to collaborate with private industry partners, state and local governments, and other universities in establishing wind energy research facilities.

"Wind power has the potential to provide a much larger share of our electricity and create hundreds of thousands of jobs," said Secretary Chu. "Projects like the one led by the Illinois Institute of Technology will help ensure that America has both the talent and the technology we need to compete in the clean energy economy. As the global wind power market expands, efforts such as these will support the long-term development of a clean energy workforce in order to achieve the Administration's goal of generating 80 percent of our Nation's electricity from clean resources by 2035."

Background Information

Today marked the commissioning of an 8 kilowatt (kW) Viryd Wind Turbine on the Illinois Institute of Technology's campus and a 1.5 megawatt (MW) GE Wind Turbine at an existing wind farm owned by a consortium partner in Marseilles, Illinois. The 8 kW turbine will be used for education, research, and public awareness purposes, while data from the offsite utility-scale 1.5 MW turbine will be used to conduct performance and reliability research projects and provide hands-on experience with renewable energy technologies for students in graduate and undergraduate courses. The university consortium's research and development plan includes efforts to improve rotor and drivetrain control, develop robust sensors for blades, and advance aeroelastic models that help designers better understand how blades flex in the wind to improve turbine performance and reliability.

The Illinois Institute of Technology, the University of Maine in Orono, and the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis were selected in October 2009 to receive up to $8 million each to develop the university-led consortia. The consortia will support university research and development programs to improve land-based and offshore wind turbine performance and reliability, as well as provide career educational opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students in wind energy technologies.

DOE's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy invests in clean energy technologies that strengthen the economy, protect the environment, and promote national security.