IU professor's lecture assesses the impact and potential of wind energy
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BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Wind energy now supplies enough electricity to power 15 million homes in the United States. According to the American Wind Energy Association, at the end of 2013, there were more U.S. wind power megawatts under construction than ever before, with projects underway in at least 20 states.
This phenomenal growth of wind energy and the future directions of the wind energy industry are the topics of the 2014 Distinguished Faculty Research Lecture. "Wind Energy 2030" will be presented by Rebecca J. Barthelmie, professor of atmospheric science and sustainability in the College of Arts and Sciences' Department of Geological Sciences at Indiana University Bloomington.
The lecture takes place from 3 to 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 2, in the IU Cinema, 1213 E. Seventh St.
Barthelmie, an internationally recognized expert in wind energy research, leads a number of large projects with funding from the European Union, the Department of Energy and the National Science Foundation, focused on studying wind turbines and large wind farms offshore and in the Midwest/Great Plains. For example, in 2011, she led a project of six institutions awarded $700,000 by the U.S. Department of Energy to study offshore wind resources in the Great Lakes. In 2009, Barthelmie received the outstanding scientist award from the European Wind Energy Academy for her extraordinary efforts and sustained contributions in the field of wind energy research.
As demand for stable and reliable renewable energy sources increases, wind-generated electricity production is growing rapidly, Barthelmie notes, making research on the interactions between wind turbines and the surrounding atmosphere increasingly important. Wind energy is also a critical component of future low-carbon energy scenarios and can play a critical role in climate change mitigation.
"All utility-scale wind energy production now occurs in large wind power plants where tens or hundreds of wind turbines are deployed in arrays,” Barthelmie said. “But how should turbines be placed, how can we maximize their lifetimes? My work is about optimizing the design and operation of wind farms so we can find even better ways to ‘harness the power of the wind.’”
The Distinguished Faculty Research Lecture series is co-sponsored by the Office of the Vice Provost for Research and the Office of the Provost at IU Bloomington. Begun in 1980, this annual event recognizes the research achievements of an IU Bloomington faculty member and is accompanied by a $3,000 award to support the distinguished lecturer's continuing research. Past awardees include Elinor Ostrom, Ellen Ketterson, Richard DiMarchi and Susan Williams.