LUBBOCK , TX — With wind farms popping up like the Hale Wind Farm it may come as no surprise that wind power has blown past coal for the first time in Texas.
What may come as a surprise, wind farms have not been as productive as they are now becoming — thanks to the research of John Schroeder Ph.D, Brian Hirth Ph.D and Jerry Guynes P.E. from Texas Tech University National Wind Institute.
Their research shows that placing more distance between wind turbines will create less wake. National Wind Institute Instructor Matt Saldana explains it’s like a wake pattern you would see left behind a boat. The wake can cause interference to wind turbines that are in close proximity.
The researchers achieved this by using two radars to create a 3-D image.
Better efficiency on wind farms make it one of the cheaper sources of energy on the market which in turn is attractive to utilities. On an apples to apples comparison a coal facility may have lower upfront cost but over time those costs build because of transportation, operations, maintenance and resources whereas wind farm cost diminish over time due to the renewable resource.
Aspects that makes wind energy so appealing is that other than the emissions from production the wind turbines are emissions free, using no water to operate which is such a huge concern for areas that suffer from drought like West Texas.
The wind industry currently employees 114,000 U.S. workers with 25,000 jobs here in Texas. Being a great industry for veterans who are trained to work in teams and have similar skill sets.