UMass Sesquicentennial
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Wind Energy Center History

Wind energy research and development began at UMass Amherst under the leadership of program founder, Professor William E. Heronemus. Professor Heronemus, along with a number of other faculty, began looking into a number of areas related to wind energy potential, including ways to quantify the wind energy resource, optimizing the design of wind turbines for electrical production, offshore wind energy potential, and ocean thermal energy conversion. Very few people worldwide were looking into these areas at the time, and many of Professor Heronemus’s concepts which are widely accepted today (such as the vast potential of offshore wind) were considered visionary at the time.

The UMass Wind Furnace: WF-1, A Retrospective

The Wind Furnace 1, the innovative turbine designed, built, and operated by wind energy professors and students at the University of Massachusetts in the early ‘70s, marked the beginning of the modern wind-electric era. Learn more…

The Life and Work of Bill Heronemus, Wind Engineering Pioneer

This memorial record and obituary of a wind power engineer and visionary Professor William Heronemus, written by former student and colleague Forrest “Woody” Stoddard, tells a story of pioneering research, development and commitment at the early stages of modern wind power. Professor Heronemus was credited with foreseeing global warming and a number of subsequent wind power developments including offshore wind farms. Learn more…