The Colleges of Engineering and Natural Sciences are hosting an NSF-funded Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) for U.S. citizens or permanent residents interested in exploring research in a wide range of wind energy topics, including engineering, wildlife ecology, and policy. View some sample projects by clicking here [pdf]. Students participating in this program come from colleges across the United States - North Carolina A & T University, Smith College, Springfield Technical Community College, University of Puerto Rico Mayaguez, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Macalester College, Hampden-Sydney College and the University of Massachusetts Amherst.
Wind energy is in the forefront of national energy policy. It is the only renewable energy source that is cost competitive with the traditional energy sources of gas, coal, oil, and nuclear. Consequently, over the past decade wind has become the fastest growing energy source in the world, increasing from 6 TWh in the U.S. in 2000 to roughly 168 TWh in 2013, or about 4% of electricity generation. Despite astounding growth of nearly 30% per year since 2000, significant advances are essential to achieving the national goal of generating 20% of the total electricity from wind by 2030. The challenges of increasing wind energy market penetration are complex. Experience with proposed offshore wind farms in the U.S. demonstrates that environmental, and social, economic, regulatory issues are just as important as solving the engineering challenges. In this project, we will introduce today’s undergraduates - the next generation of researchers - to the engineering, environmental and social sciences needed to take on these challenges.
The Wind Energy REU program allows undergraduates to perform hands-on summer research while earning a stipend of $500 per week, for 8-10 weeks. Participating students also may receive support for housing and eligible travel expenses. In addition to mentored research projects and a hands-on research field trip, students participate in weekly seminars on professional development and on the state of the art in wind energy research. This program provides undergraduates with a unique opportunity to network and collaborate with leaders in the field of wind energy.