AMARILLO -- Officials from the National Nuclear Security Administration and Texas Tech University signed an agreement today that will pave the way for the Pantex Plant to increase use of renewable wind energy.
The memorandum of understanding (MOU) was signed today in Lubbock by NNSA Production Office Manager Steve Erhart and TTU Chancellor Kent Hance and University President M. Duane Nellis. The MOU enables both parties to analyze the feasibility of creating a national research center at Pantex that would combine the resources of DOE/NNSA, Pantex and Texas Techs National Wind Institute (NWI) to create a wind energy research center.
"Pantex has clearly signaled its commitment to lead the way toward a more sustainable energy future for the Federal government and the country as a whole," said NPO Manager Steve Erhart. "The vision laid out in this MOU will build on that commitment and pay huge dividends for decades to come with our longstanding partner Texas Tech University."
The core of the agreement signed Thursday is the new Pantex Renewable Energy Project (PREP), a five-turbine, 11.5 megawatt wind farm that is being built on Federal land east of the main Pantex Plant. The project is expected to be completed this summer and will provide about 60 percent of the plants annual electrical energy needs. Through the MOU, TTU and NWI will receive access to information about PREP and the plants energy usage, including operational and output data, which will be used to study ways to make renewable wind energy more reliable and efficient.
"As the site of the largest federally owned wind farm, Pantex is well positioned to be a leader in the federal governments emphasis for increased use of renewable wind energy," Erhart said. "Given the historical connection between Texas Tech and Pantex, it makes perfect sense to join our resources together to help secure the energy future for our country and our planet."
The MOU describes a desire by the signatories to develop a TTU wind energy center that will be built on Texas Techs portion of the Pantex land. The center would have access to much of the rest of the open land on the Pantex site to develop a utility-scale wind energy system to support the nations long-term energy goals by conducting wind research, contributing to local workforce development and developing wind energy technologies that help resolve the key scientific challenges facing the industry.