Tech Signs MOU With Mesalands For Wind Research

SOCORRO, N.M. January 5, 2010 – New Mexico Tech and Mesalands Community College signed a new memorandum of understanding to lay the groundwork for New Mexico Tech faculty and students to participate in wind energy research at the new North American Wind Research and Training Center in Tucumcari.
New Mexico Tech President Dr. Daniel H. Lopez signs an MOU with Dr. Phillip O. Barry, president of Mesalands Community College in Tucumcari.

Tech President Dr. Daniel H. Lopez and Mesalands President Dr. Phillip O. Barry signed the agreement Tuesday, Dec. 7, in Socorro.

“What intrigues me about this agreement is that New Mexico Tech – and all universities – need to be moving forward in alternative energy,” Lopez said. “This facility gives us opportunities to pursue sponsored research in wind energy technology, generation and transmission.”

Mesalands recently dedicated its new 27,000 square-foot Wind Center that features a 1.5 megawatt wind turbine. The community college offers a training program for wind energy industry technicians.

“A research institution with the caliber of New Mexico Tech will strengthen the research capabilities of the North American Wind Research and Training Center,” Barry said.

An artist's rendering of the North American Wind Research and Training Center in Tucumcari.

New Mexico Tech professors and students now have potential opportunities to conduct research, said Dr. Michael Hensley, New Mexico Tech Director of Special Projects.

“Those who are interested in renewable energy will have a working environment where they can apply their theories and projects in a real-world scenario, instead of just modeling and simulation,” Hensley said, “This is an opportunity for New Mexico to become a leader in wind energy research and for New Mexico Tech to participate in a meaningful way.”

The new North American Wind Research and Training Center includes laboratories for electrical and mechanical engineering, an 84-seat auditorium, classrooms and a 13,000 square-foot blade maintenance complex to accommodate semi-trailers carrying wind turbine components. The Center has also received donations of specialized software and hardware that will allow students to track up to 25,000 data points and apply sound vibration technology.

Mesalands has several other research partners at the Wind Center, including Sandia National Laboratories, UCLA and Washington University in St. Louis.

– NMT –

By Thomas Guengerich/New Mexico Tech