Center for Research Education in Wind

Electrical Engineering at Colorado School of Mines


Center for Research and Education in Wind (CREW) is a research center of the Colorado Renewable Energy Collaboratory. It was created as a means to form research partnerships between four institutions: Colorado School of Mines, Colorado State University, National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and University of Colorado Boulder.

CREW at Mines focuses on educating undergraduate and graduate Mines students about the challenges and opportunities related to wind energy and encouraging them to pursue careers in this field. Our goal is to support the ongoing commitment Mines has to promoting clean energy resources and protecting the environment. Due to the multidisciplinary nature of wind energy, we work with students from all disciplines across campus.

How to Work with CREW

CREW at Mines offers undergraduate research fellowships to under-represented students who are passionate about the environment and interested in learning more about wind energy. These opportunities are typically announced in March of each year, with the research to be conducted during the summer months.


Salman Mohagheghi

Associate Professor, Electrical Engineering

Current center director is Professor Salman Mohagheghi, who is an Associate Professor at the Electrical Engineering Department. Prior to joining Mines, Dr. Mohagheghi worked as a Senior R&D Engineer at ABB Inc., doing research related to power and energy systems. In 2011, he returned to academia to pursue his passion for developing solutions for sustainable, resilient and human-centric energy networks. Being originally from Tehran, Iran –which is also a mile-high city– he feels right at home here in Colorado! He is an avid photographer and enjoys spending his weekends hiking in the beautiful Colorado mountains with his golden retriever puppy.


2023 Recipients of the Research Fellowship

Holden Drew

My name is Holden Drew and I am a third year student studying electrical engineering. I am a member of the Sigma Phi Epsilon Fraternity where I serve as Sound Spirit, promoting mental health and wellness within the chapter and community. I also enjoy hiking, bouldering, and reading.

This summer, I researched the current state of the Navajo Nation’s electrical grid and strategies to increase remote electrification. This topic was of great interest to me, as electrification of remote areas is what led me to choosing electrical engineering in the first place. The research included gathering existing data to inform potential models and strategies towards the goal of electrification of remote areas of the Nation. It allowed me to use ArcGIS to create a map of the existing Navajo Nation grid, as well as other vital infrastructure.

Olivia Zindel

My name is Olivia Zindel. I am currently a third year student at Mines majoring in Electrical Engineering with a focus on Information Systems Science and minoring in Computer Science.

This summer, I researched the potential for electrification on the Navajo Reservation focusing solely on renewable energy sources. This Region is divided into 110 Chapters, and I worked alongside Holden Drew to collect data on the demographics of these Chapters. This included the number of people over the age of 65 or under the age of 5, the average commute time to work, the percentage of occupied homes compared to total homes, and the main source of heating for each region. I then looked into the advantages and disadvantages of different power plants and off-grid solutions as well as grid extensions and Mobile Energy Storage Systems. Through this fellowship, I learned about which sources of energy are best to invest in based on the demographics of the region, the location of homes compared to major highways, wind and solar power potential, and geological features of the area.

2021 Recipients of the Research Fellowship

Meghan Slowey

Hi, my name is Meghan Slowey and I am currently a junior in Mechanical Engineering. I am originally from Charleston, South Carolina and coming to Mines has allowed my interest in renewable energy to grow. In my free time, I love competing on Mine’s Varsity Swim team.

During the summer, I researched offshore wind turbines and their possible increased implementation compared to onshore wind turbines to help meet the growing energy demand. To do this, I analyzed how their differing environments impacted their structure, implementation and maintenance costs, wind profile, and their impact on the environment. The research this summer has allowed me to see how further advancements need to be made to bring down the costs of offshore turbines to make them a more plausible source of energy for companies to install. This could include moving the gearbox and generator to the base of the turbine to reduce maintenance time, having an in-place maintenance team to cut down on the travel time to and from the wind turbines, and making advancements to the electrical and mechanical components to reduce turbine outage days. Researching the subject taught me how large of an impact offshore wind energy could have on meeting our growing energy demand, but how cost is often the determining factor on its use.

2020 Recipients of the Research Fellowship

Jessica Graham

My name is Jessica Graham and I will be graduating in May 2022 with dual bachelor’s degrees in Electrical Engineering and Applied Math.

For my research this summer, I worked with the “Segmented Ultralight Morphing Rotor (SUMR)” demonstrator wind turbine to compare field data and the simulation data that had been used to design the turbine. I performed quality control on the data to eliminate outliers and generate steady state curves.

Melissa Pinson

My name is Melissa Pinson and I am a junior in mechanical engineering. I am originally from Rio Rancho, New Mexico, but going to Mines has given me the opportunity to live in a state that I have always loved! In addition to being on the Mines Dance Team, I am a competitive dancer and have competed at four world championships.

My research focused on identifying the wide variety of phenomena surrounding offshore floating wind turbines (OFWT) and how they affect the ultimate energy production. I was interested in this topic because OFWTs have enormous potential to be a significant energy source as we move towards renewables. Their location on the open ocean provides strong winds, plenty of potential real estate, and minimal disturbance to residences. This project allowed me to examine many different analysis methods for the same problem and identify their strengths and weaknesses. I have always found it extremely important to approach problems from multiple viewpoints, and my research forced me to consider these phenomena from both a mechanical and electrical perspective.

2019 Recipients of the Research Fellowship

McKenzie Davis

Hi! I’m McKenzie Davis and I’m a senior in mechanical engineering. I’m originally from Phoenix, Arizona but I’ve grown to absolutely love Colorado. When I’m not busy with school I enjoy taking pictures, traveling, and scuba diving.

For my research, I concentrated on the environmental effects of offshore wind turbines on marine populations. I fully believe that as engineers it is imperative we thoroughly investigate any potential consequences from our technologies. This summer I was able to review a wide breadth of research regarding possible environmental concerns, many of which I hadn’t previously considered. I was also able to explore the use of engineered technology as a potential mitigation tool. It was interesting to examine the possible adverse effects of a highly valuable technology, and going forward I am excited to see how wind energy progresses.

Rachel McManus

My name is Rachel McManus and I will be graduating Mines in the spring of 2020 with a bachelors in mechanical engineering and an area of emphasis in aerospace engineering.

The research I conducted was based on creating a less volatile method of producing clean energy by combining multiple subsystems – wind and wave energy. The system includes off-shore wind turbines with a wave energy converter (WEC) as the base of the turbine. Not only does this save space, it provides a constant source of electricity (when it is less windy, the WEC is still producing energy). This project provided an opportunity to think about and analyze a system which has not been previously investigated much in the field of renewable energy. Researching this taught me how to set up and pursue a new research topic, as well as what goes into analyzing locations to find the optimal spot for an off-shore wind turbine.

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