Posted: Nov 14, 2012 1:27 PM by Janine Reyes
Updated: Nov 14, 2012 6:39 PM
CORPUS CHRISTI -- The last couple of days we've been telling you about four wind turbines the City of Corpus Christi installed on the bayfront that don't really power anything.
As we've reported, the turbines which cost nearly half a million dollars to build were part of a Bayfront Improvement Plan in the 2004 bond election.
Meanwhile, Texas A&M Corpus Christi began using three of their own vertical axis turbines to generate power. The turbines are a different design than those installed by the city.
Officials estimate they will save the university about $18,000 - $25,000 a year in utility costs. Actual savings depends on wind speed, of course.
Assistant Professor Petru Aurelian Simionescu played a big role in their design and installation. "Wind here in the Corpus Christi area blows mostly in the afternoon and that's something advantageous because its when we are using the air conditioning units most," he said.
It's that same wind that only gives the city's turbines on Shoreline enough input to power a small home - if that.
Simonescu tells us the turbines on campus generate about 12% of the university's energy, but more importantly he says they serve as a learning tool for science and engineering students there.
"This is an educational institution, we are not necessarily on making a profit," said Simionescu.
Simionescu says unlike some of the horizontal access turbines located in San Patricio County, the university had limitations on their turbine designs.
Because of the location of the Naval Air Station Corpus Christi and the interference some turbines can cause with radar, they had to go with the less efficient, vertical models.
Size will also contribute to energy saved. which is why the university turbines provide more output than the city's turbines on Shoreline Boulevard.
Even though Simionescu was not involved with the design of the city's turbines, he says there were likely limitations to what they could build in that area.
The turbines on campus would not fit on the bayfront and cost twice as much. Officials say the upside of the design is a longer lifespan, with proper maintenance.
"A smaller turbine might be more rugged than a bigger one," said Simionescu.
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