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Design specifications for the facility are based on a modular and expandable space that can be adapted, allowing for upgrades and additions to mechanical and electrical equipment as program needs or technology demands dictate. The facility was also designed with the highest level of efficiency possible, not only for the electrical and mechanical facilities, but also the office spaces and multi-use area. For more information on the green footprint of the facility, visit our story on Green Technology.
The NWSC design effort formally began in March 2009. Under the terms of the current project schedule, facility construction began in the first half of 2010, with the facility opening in the Fall of 2012.
The NWSC is the result of a partnership between University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR), the State of Wyoming, the University of Wyoming, Cheyenne LEADS, Wyoming Business Council, Cheyenne Light, Fuel & Power Company. The NWSC is operated by the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) under the sponsorship of the National Science Foundation.
A partnership between Xcel Energy and NCAR has produced a wind forecasting system that is widely considered to be one of the most advanced of its kind. Its highly accurate forecasts mean that Xcel Energy can anticipate when it will have enough wind energy to meet customer needs. In 2010 alone, the system saved Xcel Energy’s customers more than $6 million.