PONCA CITY -- A new partnership driven by the wind will provide technology training in Ponca City, Okla.
Oklahoma State University President Burns Hargis recently announced a new training program in wind energy technology, which will be a three-way alliance among the University Center and Pioneer Technology Center, both in Ponca City, Okla., and Oklahoma State University-Oklahoma City.
Hargis made the announcement at Ponca City’s City Hall during a Chamber of Commerce forum. Later, he toured the University Center.
University Center CEO Adam Leaming couldn’t be happier about the partnership.
“We anticipate starting our program in January,” Leaming said. “This is a good time for us to recruit. A couple of students have already indicated interest, and we’ve sent them to the OSU-OKC website to fill out an application.”
Leaming said the rapid development of wind turbine farms in north-central Oklahoma is driving demand for the technology program.
He said nearly 300 wind turbines exist or are being installed within 20 miles of Ponca City. Some 145 wind turbines are being installed in Burbank, Okla., and the Kaw Nation is building in the Chilocco Wind Farm north of Newkirk.
And among working wind farms, the Cowboy Wind Farm near Blackwell, Okla., is the main electricity source for OSU’s main campus in Stillwater, generating 67 percent of its energy. With 26 turbines, the Blackwell farm has a total capacity of almost 60 megawatts. One megawatt powers about 250 homes.
OSU-OKC offers an associate degree in applied science in wind turbine technology that is geared toward entry-level supervisory positions.
The program in Ponca City will also offer a certification option, Leaming said.
“Companies are very interested in our plans for this program,” he said.
University Center has 400 students in 18 degree programs through interactive television and 48 online degree options, Leaming said. The center partners with 13 higher education institutions to offer distance education to students in northern Oklahoma.
“There’s a lot of excitement to see OSU willing to provide a program up here, with thoughts of expanding to offer other courses,” Leaming said.