University of Delaware’s big wind turbine provides power and research opportunities
Today, the University of Delaware campus has the only commercial-sized wind turbine in Delaware, and tapping into the East Coast’s immense wind energy potential is key to its clean energy goals.
Built in 2010, the wind turbine produces enough electricity to power the buildings at the Lewes campus, as well as 108 homes in the city of Lewes. This results in the university averting carbon dioxide emissions equivalent to taking nearly 750 passenger vehicles off the road.
The University of Delaware has a long history of being at the forefront of clean energy innovation, starting the world’s first lab dedicated to photovoltaic research and development in 1972. In keeping with its history, a primary mission of the wind turbine project is to create research and educational opportunities.
To date, students have used the wind turbine to study everything from impacts on birds and bats to the corrosive impacts of salty coastal air, important for advancing understanding of offshore wind turbines. One study resulted in the development of software called Bat Shield, which allows for modification of turbine operation to protect bats during migration season.