Director of UTD Wind Mario Rotea said that the center was funded with help from Colin Allred, the representative for the 32nd congressional district of Texas. These funds will primarily be used to increase capacity for research at UTD Wind, along with buying more equipment and building the headquarters for the center near campus. Rotea said that UTD Wind mostly works with fluid mechanics, and the additional money will allow students a doorway into other areas important for their careers, like mechatronics and electronics.
“So [the funding] is going to allow us to do things at a higher level of excellence,” Rotea said. “I think it’s going to impact the students very well because they will have access and this is not just [for] graduate students since we have research experience for undergraduates in wind energy. They will benefit as well.”
Rotea said that the funds will open more prospects for students to work on wind energy in a research setting — an area relevant to Texas, the number one producer for wind energy in the United States. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), Texas produces up to 26% of wind energy in the nation.
“Part of this funding is dedicated to renovating West Tech in order to have headquarters and additional labs,” Rotea said. “We will have, see all these companies that I was showing you, we will have a place to meet with them, talk and bring new companies because we are going to put the headquarters of our center there in West Tech. There will be continuation based on other projects to grow … and also we can explore new areas that we haven’t explored yet with the new funding.”
Rotea said he hopes to improve the center by inviting international collaborators and professors to help students work with cutting edge technology and ultimately become a center of excellence in wind energy.
“My hope is that the only limitation for everybody is our own imagination,” Rotea said. “Without the support of UTD, we wouldn’t be where we are and now [without] this extra support from Congress through the initiative and work of Congressman Allred, we would not have this, so the only thing I have to add is thank you.”