Iowa’s wind energy industry will get research support through a new program of study at Iowa State University. The Board of Regents this week approved a new doctoral program in Wind Energy Science, Engineering, and Policy.
I.S.U. College of Engineering associate professor John Jackman says the industry needs more trained talent and manufacturing expertise to compete with the rest of the world. “Wind energy has been, obviously, a big mover in terms of new energy sources and yet there are some serious issues related to the implementation of wind energy,” Jackman said.
Those issues include blade design and control, distribution of wind power, and disposal of used turbines, as well as threats to wildlife from wind generators. Jackman notes Europe is producing more trained professionals in wind science than the United States and that will hurt job creation here.
“Let’s take a company such as General Electric — they have a large energy program and they have a large share of that market. If they can’t find the talent to address these issues, they’re going to have to go overseas,” Jackman said. Only Texas Tech offers a similar advanced degree in wind science and engineering.
I.S.U. already has related research centers, including a wind simulation and testing laboratory and a climate science program for wind climate change analysis. I.S.U. reports that enrollment is growing in undergraduate courses related to wind energy.
An annual report released in August found Iowa is second behind only Texas in U.S. wind energy production.