College of Engineering Plays Lead Role in Forming IAWIND

Friday, May 9, 2008

The College of Engineering, at UI is playing a leadership role in the formation of the Iowa Alliance for Wind Innovation and Novel Development (IAWIND). IAWIND is a virtual partnership among the Regents universities, community colleges, industry, and the Iowa Department of Economic Development, designed to support the State of Iowa in its efforts to continue to attract and nurture wind energy and related industries; and become the nation’s leading state in alternate energy technologies.

It is designed to serve as a catalyst for the growth of wind energy, and to support and to facilitate the research and training needs of wind energy companies.

Establishing the alliance in Iowa supports the Governor’s vision to make Iowa the national leader in renewable energy. The alliance will facilitate synergies between its various components (Research, Education, Policy and Testing). Collectively this interplay will stimulate innovation.

To help strengthen Iowa's wind energy industry, Gov. Chet Culver unveiled the alliance via a web site April 30. The web address for the new alliance is www.iawind.org. The IAWIND web site conveys alliance participants and activities, and includes a catalog of existing wind-related activities and capabilities within Iowa. The site is already helping the State and its constituents by providing a unified storefront of capabilities and contacts. It is being used by IDED to help attract additional wind-related companies to Iowa.

The alliance also is designed to help grow renewable energy jobs and projects by connecting businesses, schools and the public sector. It will help tap the state's "unlimited potential" in the wind energy industry by linking five community colleges, Iowa's three Regents universities, and the state with industry. The site will be instrumental in aiding the state to meet its long-term goal of having 25 percent of Iowa's energy come from renewable sources, such as wind, he said.

Students can use the site to learn more about Iowa colleges' industry-geared academic programs, which can prepare them with the skills necessary to break into the industry, said P. Barry Butler, dean of the UI College of Engineering.

"We have a youth base in this state that is incredibly interested in the future of wind energy, and they are hungry for the academic programs," Butler said. "They are hungry for going to work in this business."