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The North American Wind Research and Training Center at Mesalands Community College is sharing wind data with academics from New Mexico Tech to better understand how wind impacts grid reliability.

Kevin Wedeward, professor and chair of the electrical engineering department at New Mexico Tech, and graduate student David Breen are using the data collected from the GE 1.5 MW wind turbine at Mesalands to study the impact wind farms have on the behavior and stability of the electrical grid.

Wedeward says the turbine operational data collected from the Mesalands site allows them to verify if their mathematical models of the representations of wind turbines portray the behavior of an actual wind turbine.

The researchers want to study how the grid behaves in the presence of large amounts of wind. "When you get a lot of wind turbines on the grid, does the grid start to behave in a less than desirable way?" Wedeward asks. "Or is there a chance, at some point, the behavior of stability of the grid will be compromised or at least lessen in reliable power?"

"We can’t really say with any confidence that the results we are going to get are correct, unless you get the kind of data we are collecting here at Mesalands," Wedeward says. "This data will be instrumental in the future of our research."

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