June 24, 2017

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WESEP: Wind Energy Science, Engineering, and Policy

Outreach & Dissemination

Goal C: Outreach & Dissemination - Impact Wind Energy CommunityOur program will have a substantial impact on the wind energy community by accomplishing three outreach and dissemination objectives via nine tasks (see figure at right).

Outreach and Dissemination Objectives


Local, national, and international academic communities will have access to an internet-based library of our publications and educational materials. The local academic communities include Iowa State University, the other two Iowa regents’ institutions (University of Iowa and University of Northern Iowa), and K-12 schools. We will communicate to the entire Iowa State community the new research thrusts and the educational pedagogy, and the operational ways by which we will contribute to the transformation of graduate education at Iowa State University. To accomplish this, we will provide at least two seminars per year on campus and one seminar at the other regents’ institutions. Our counterparts at the University of Iowa and the University of Northern Iowa have agreed to share WESEP-related courses through online education partnership. In this approach, students in the three institutions will have access to the courses offered by all three schools. We will reach K-12 students via our existing school wind turbine program that engages students in the process of developing a small wind turbine site on or close to the school campus. This program will be expanded to four other high schools with high minority enrollments in Iowa. In addition, we offer a WESEP research program for undergraduate students sponsored by the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) program that will serve as a recruiting mechanism for future IGERT fellows from undergraduate students from around the nation emphasizing underrepresented groups. We will reach the national community by (1) offering our distance-education-based WESEP courses and (2) creating a visiting scholars program that brings leaders in wind energy to Iowa State University to spend a week interacting with our students and faculty. A third target of our academic outreach is international institutions. This will be made possible through our student exchange program that involves five partner institutions.


Twenty-one companies, national laboratories, and state agencies will serve on our Project Advisory Board (PAB). Input from PAB members will help us to identify research problems to align student research focus with a relevant research agenda. This will enable companies to devise internship assignments matching student research. For example, we recently sent a PhD student to the Midwest Independent System Operator (ISO) for a summer internship where he gave a seminar upon arrival. He was assigned to an area of work directly related to his research, provided highly useful results during his internship, and returned to Iowa State University and gave a seminar. As he completes his dissertation, research communications with Midwest ISO and Iowa State colleagues will continue, a model we will replicate.


The large amount of city, county, state, and federal legislative and regulatory activity regarding energy reveals many activities not supported with the best available research. We will target certain city councils, county supervisors, state legislators, state agencies, and congressional delegations and staff, whose offices we refer to as “Centers of Decision and Influence” (CDIs). To do so, we will develop student-faculty liaison teams that will analyze CDIs to identify the information they need to enhance understanding of wind energy for policy making. Educational materials developed will benefit both the CDI and other outreach partners through the WESEP online library. Of particular interest will be regulators at the state level (e.g., the Iowa Utilities Board or IUB) and the federal level (the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission or FERC). The IUB and FERC have both committed to hosting WESEP fellows as interns. IUB will also serve on our PAB. Additionally, we will reach advocacy groups such as the Iowa Wind Energy Association, for which PI James D. McCalley served as board member from 2007-2010, as well as the American Wind Energy Association.