College working to ready RFP for wind turbine

By Thomas Garcia: Quay County Sun

With more than $4 million secured from state and federal dollars, local college officials are now working to set up the North American Wind Research and Training Center at Mesalands Community College, starting with a wind turbine.

The planned purchase of a turbine must be put out bid. And college officials are anxious to get that process moving because some manufacturers have long waiting lists.

“Our best estimate is that the turbine and training will start sometime in 2008,” said Mesalands president Phillip O. Barry after Tuesday’s night meeting of the college’s Board of Trustees.

“The wind research will be done by New Mexico State University and Sandia National Laboratories. While the actual technical training will be done by us,” he said.

The college got its go-ahead when Gov. Bill Richardson and the state Legislature gave it about $2 million in funding to start its center, Barry said.

The college’s plan for its center has predicted: “On going revenue and sale of the power produced by the turbine will total $200,000 which is $159,000 of net operating cost. The research facility and turbine will attract students and technicians from across New Mexico and the country. The increased student population will result in additional revenue from the industry fees, college tuition, and a higher state education funding formula.”