WTAMU Gets Into The Wind Business

Kenneth Starcher, WTAMU Alternative Energy Institute
Kenneth Starcher, WTAMU Alternative Energy Institute

West Texas A&M University is expecting millions of dollars to blow into it's budget.

21 wind turbines are expected to be built on university property.

With college budgets getting tighter and tighter, WT just agreed on a way to bring hundreds of thousands of dollars each year into their school.

The Nance Ranch has been part of the WT campus for decades.

But now it will turn into a unique source of revenue for the school.

"It kind of made sense for us to get into the business use our land, use our resources. Use our wind to develop a wind farm on our property. and then the financial benefit was also great," said Leonida Cleveland, the assistant to the WTAMU Vice President.

Over the span of the 30 year lease the university is expected to be paid over 13 million dollars in turbine royalties alone.

"It will just be additional monies used for program development, academic development, scholarships, but those decisions really haven't been made yet," said Cleveland.

In addition to the money, Higher Power Energy, a wind development company, has teamed up with the WT Alternative Energy Institute to allow students to be involved in the farm.

"We wanted to make sure the contract allowed us access to these turbines because they are going to be a good research tool. Very few universities have a working wind farm in their backyard," said Kenneth Starcher, the head of the WTAMU Alternative Energy Institute.

The wind farm is only expected to take up 44 acres of the 22 hundred at the ranch.

Starcher says after 25 years of collecting wind data there, he's excited to see energy production finally come, and the university gets to benefit.