November 18, 2017

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WESEP: Wind Energy Science, Engineering, and Policy

Why WESEP?

Our nation’s most pressing problem today arguably is meeting energy needs while reducing global climate impacts. Because wind energy emits no greenhouse gases (GHG) and is relatively low-cost, broad consensus exists that the future U.S. energy portfolio must contain a large wind energy component. Given that today’s U.S. installed electric generating capacity is 1100 GW, of which only 36 GW is from wind, the Department of Energy (DOE) in 2008 presented a scenario in which 300 GW of wind energy production is developed by 2030, demanding unprecedented growth. To address climate impacts for electricity generation and transportation sectors in a cost-effective manner, increased electrification of transportation is likely, requiring a wind capacity growth to as much as 600 GW. This level of wind capacity can only be reached with significant investment in developing technologies, building a workforce, and changing electricity market structures while managing the interrelationships with agriculture, economics, and life in rural communities. Thus, a wind energy build-out of 300-600 GW will require dramatic progress in fundamental wind energy research and development and in establishing suitable policies, with corresponding expansion and renovation of the educational systems to transform the workforce. This IGERT focuses on interdisciplinary graduate education in wind energy, a critical, long-term national need identified by the DOE in 2008.