- Associated Press - Sunday, January 31, 2016

FARGO, N.D. (AP) - Faculty members at North Dakota State University plan to conduct research in an effort to make wind power more widespread, reliable and efficient.

The project will be led by Nilanjan Ray Chaudhuri, an assistant professor with the university’s electrical and computer engineering department, and will be funded by a five-year, $502,810 grant from the National Science Foundation’s Division of Electrical, Community and Cyber Systems.

Chaudhuri told the Bismarck Tribune (https://bit.ly/1ORkHY9 ) that one of the study’s key aspects will be to research the possibility of using direct current grids. He believes the benefits of a direct current system could one day transform how the nation gets its power.

“With that, we’ll be able to increase wind energy penetration,” he said.

Chaudhuri said most U.S. wind energy potential is in the Midwest, where power is less in demand. He said this requires longer transmission lines to get power to more highly populated areas, and that direct current transmission is more economical for long distances.

A direct current system could also help overcome the problem of fluctuating power, Chaudhuri said, allowing for power to be moved longer distances when wind is blowing in one place but not another.

With its wind energy potential, North Dakota is well-positioned to take advantage of the industry, Chaudhuri said. He said there are two high-voltage direct current transmission lines in the state, and that there aren’t many of these lines in the United States.

Switching transmission would require more infrastructure to be built. The research needed for the system likely will take 30 or more years to perfect, Chaudhuri said.

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