VAN WERT COUNTY – The link between Ohio State University and the Blue Creek Wind Farm was strengthened on Monday as OSU officials and Iberdrola Renewables agreed to team up on wind power production research projects.
A bus load of Ohio State students, officials, and even Brutus Buckeye ventured to Lincoln Ridge Farm northeast of Convoy for the signing of the agreement.
The energy firm and the university were already partners. Since Dec. 1, 2012, OSU has agreed to purchase enough wind energy to power around 25 percent of its Columbus campus. That wind energy is generated at the Blue Creek Wind Farm.
“We signed an agreement back in November where we purchased some wind energy from Blue Creek Wind Farm and Iberdrola, so now we are taking this to the next level,” announced Caroline Whitacre, OSU vice president for research. “We applaud Iberdrola Renewables for making our relationship more than just a business transaction,” said Caroline Whitacre, Ohio State’s vice president for research. “In addition to the wind energy purchase, Iberdrola Renewables and Ohio State are partnering to advance wind energy research and education. This unprecedented collaboration provides Ohio State researchers with near-real-time access to operations data so they can work with Iberdrola Renewables to address challenges and progress in wind power production.”
Monday’s agreement cements the collaboration in the efforts to refine the wind energy generation and transmission systems.
Iberdrola Renewables Managing Director of External Affairs Kevin Lynch noted, “The wind industry is a fast-growing business. There’s a lot that we still need to learn to make it better. So the work that we do will help the university as well.”
The researchers are expected to look into areas such as blade and gear design, turbine generators, noise optimization, and wind modeling, as well as policy and community concerns and wind energy markets.
“Working with a research university as reputable and cutting edge as Ohio State is a fantastic opportunity for us and the state of Ohio,” Lynch stated. “We are delivering clean, renewable power, and partnering with a world class institution to further wind energy technology and education.”
The tone was set for the signing ceremony early on as the bus doors opened and Brutus Buckeye rushed out followed by the OSU State Tour Team, a group of red-shirted students. Many of the team got a first look at the wind farm, a few marveling at the site of several turbines overlooking Lincoln Ridge on a sunny Monday morning. The bus trip was making its first stop, moving on to visit Cooper Farms in Van Wert next.
The immediate effect of the new research agreement is the creation of a committee with representatives from both Ohio State and Iberdrola Renewables. The committee will work to evaluate, approve, and facilitate research projects, and to determine the responsibilities of all parties involved in a project, including any additional partners that might also take part. In this way both Iberdrola and Ohio State can work together on reports, publications, inventions, and patents which could come from these research projects and have their rights protected.
Both sides were all smiles after the paperwork was signed.
“It’s a great day for Ohio State and a great day for wind power in this state,” stated OSU Interim President Joseph A. Alutto.
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