Wind Energy Option - Are You Ready?

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Wind Energy Readiness Assessment

The Wind Energy Option is a technical program with emphasis on wind project design, development, and analysis. A strong background in math, physics, and fluid mechanics is expected in order to develop the interdisciplinary skills required in the emerging field of wind energy. Many students entering this program will not have direct experience in the wind industry. 

Wind Energy encompasses the fields of mechanical engineering, aerospace engineering, electrical engineering, meteorology, physics, but also economics. Individuals are expected to begin study in the Wind Energy Option with a core piece of knowledge, developed from:

  • A Bachelor of Science (BS) degree related to one of the above fields,
  • 3-5 years of professional experience applying a related field of knowledge (following an alternate bachelor’s degree), or
  • 3-5 years prior experience working in the field of wind energy project development, or having learned several ‘rules-of-thumb’ and practical skills of wind turbine and wind farm design.

Students are expected to consult with their advisor to plan a course selection that integrates and emphasizes pre-existing skills with career interests.

What are the core skills that will help me to assess whether or not I am ready for study in Wind Energy within the RESS program?

  • Applied math background
    Students are expected to have a strong background in math including trigonometry, matrix algebra, calculus, and basics of statistics.
  • Programming skills
    Some wind projects involve computing software for wind turbine blade loads as well as small programming exercises. Experience with command prompts and at least one programming language (e.g., Matlab, Fortran, C++) are an asset.
  • Fluid mechanics
    A solid background in fluid statics and kinematics, potential flow theory, fluid dynamics of inviscid and viscous flows, basics of boundary layer theory, and low-speed airfoil aerodynamics is strongly encouraged.
  • Structures
    A basic background in engineering mechanics involving strength of materials, statics and dynamics is strongly encouraged. 
  • Basics of electricity
    Students are expected to have basic knowledge in current/voltage relationships, and AC/DC power and supporting technologies.

A candidate student will also have the strong desire to become a leader in the wind energy field.

The resulting integrated skills of a master’s graduate in the wind energy option include wind siting and resource assessment, wind turbine blade design, computational modeling of wind turbine performance, cost modeling and financing of large-scale wind projects, and the social and policy context of wind energy systems project design. The option will create graduates who can lead project and policy development in the wind energy industry.