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The Texas Emerging Technology Fund (ETF) has announced a $2.2 million research grant match award to a Texas A&M-led consortium of Texas universities. The ETF funds will support emerging-technology research and development activities that are directed toward the creation of an offshore wind energy industry in Texas.

The university team is led by the Texas A&M Energy Institute’s Wind Energy Center and includes the Texas A&M Dwight Look College of Engineering’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and Department of Aerospace Engineering and the College of Geosciences’ Geochemical and Environmental Research Group.

The other partner universities are The University of Texas at Austin’s Center for Electromechanics and Department of Civil Engineering; Texas Tech University’s National Wind Resource Center; Texas A&M University - Corpus Christi’s Conrad Blucher Institute; and The University of Texas at Brownsville’s School of Business and Department of Environmental Sciences.

"As we move forward, wind power will play a significant role in fulfilling the energy needs of the State of Texas as well as the United States. The consortium led by researchers at Texas A&M University and the Texas A&M Energy Institute’s Wind Energy Center is taking steps to be at the forefront of the efforts to meet the needs of the citizens of the U.S., and this grant will help it to continue in its efforts to be the leader in wind energy technology," said John Sharp, chancellor of The Texas A&M System.

The ETF award will be matched with a more than $1 million total investment from Texas A&M, the Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station, Texas Tech University and The University of Texas, as well as up to $51 million from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to Baryonyx, pursuant to the U.S. Offshore Wind Advanced Technology Demonstration Project.

In addition to the DOE award and university investments, the ETF funds will also be matched by an approximately $13.3 million investment from industry members of the Gulf Offshore Wind (GoWind) consortium.

These partners include leading offshore wind turbine manufacturer Siemens AG, South Texas offshore fabricator Keppel AmFELS, and UK-based Offshore Design Engineering, LTD.

Overall, more than $3.2 million will be invested in offshore wind energy technology development, commercialization, and increased capacity at the consortium’s universities.

Background Information: Baryonyx Corporation is currently developing GoWind, a commercial scale offshore wind energy project to be located in Cameron County, Texas, approximately five miles off the coast of South Padre Island. The GoWind Project, which is slated to be online in 2016, would be the first offshore wind energy project in the United States.

The project will generate power during peak demand and will bring more power to a historically underserved area without the need for new long-distance transmission lines.

Given the regulatory uncertainty surrounding tax credits for renewable energy, the goal of the consortium of Texas Universities, Baryonyx and their commercial partners is to make technological advancements in offshore wind energy that will reduce the overall cost of power, thereby allowing continued growth of Texas’ wind power industry.

Texas leads the country in onshore wind energy generation, and the goal of the GoWind Project is to make Texas the leader in offshore wind energy.