Integrating Real-World Case Studies into Wind Energy Graduate Education
Swift, Andrew H. P., Jr.
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Wind power continues to grow rapidly as a fuel source for the electric power industry in the US. Recent data for 2014 show that wind power in Texas alone delivered in excess of 10 percent of the annual electrical energy consumed in the state. With this growth has emerged the need for a professionally educated national workforce to support the industry and sustain future growth. With the original support of the Texas Workforce Commission in 2008, both undergraduate and graduate wind energy education programs have been established at Texas Tech University. A series of multidisciplinary courses have been developed by the six full-time faculty to support the degree and certificate programs. Total wind energy student course enrollments over approximately 20 wind energy courses offered each semester are averaging 400 to 500. The offerings are both face to face (in-class) and by distance delivery. Starting in Fall 2014 TTU partnered with DNV GL to offer real-world case studies as part of the graduate course offerings. Four case studies were offered in each of two graduate classes - Advanced Technical Wind Energy I and Advanced Managerial Wind Energy I. The case studies covered technical, environmental, and site management topics for a single turbine project, a multi-turbine power plant, an offshore installation, and wind turbine technology innovations. The case studies were delivered remotely allowing students to benefit from real-life examples and the interaction with members of the wind industry. This presentation will discuss an outline of the cases, best practices for integrating industry participation to maximize student benefit, and effective delivery methods - what worked well and what can be improved.