NM ASSP & NMSHMM Joint Hybrid Meeting

  • September 8, 2022
    5:30 pm - 7:00 pm

Topic Evolution of Sandia National Labs’ Scaled Wind Farm Technology (SWiFT) Facility

Since being commissioned in 2013, Sandia National Laboratories (SNL) has operated the Scaled Wind Farm Technology (SWiFT) Facility for the Department of Energy Wind Energy Technologies Office (DOE/WETO), conducting and leading wind energy research in the areas of advanced simulation, improved wind plant performance, development and testing of advanced wind turbine rotors, and the critical next steps towards national grid integration, modernization and energy security. The SWiFT Program partners with academia and industry to provide valuable and unique research capabilities in areas such as turbine-to-turbine interaction and wake imaging using its three research-modified Vestas V27 wind turbines, two research instrumented meteorological towers, and integrated research capabilities and infrastructure co-located with Texas Tech University’s National Wind Institute at the Reese Technology Center in Lubbock, TX.

Heavily modified Vestas V27 wind turbines and heavily instrumented meteorological (MET) towers are but one piece of a program conceived and developed with partnerships with Texas Tech University (TTU) National Wind Institute (NWI), Group NIRE, and multiple contract subject matter experts (SMEs). This complex program has matured organizationally and technically, and applied difficult lessons learned towards reshaping SWiFT as a one-of-a-kind, world-class wind research facility, whose unique capabilities, location, and open-source approach to research is now being fully realized.

In the eight years that the facility has been in operation, the SWiFT program has evolved as a DOE moderate hazard facility through programmatic improvements and lessons learned from operational safety events. The timeline of the SWiFT Program’s evolution can be looked at in four distinct phases:

  1. Site development, construction and commissioning;
  2. Period of the first significant mishap event, corrective actions, and recommissioning for return to operations; and,
  3. The period of the second mishap event, the corrective actions associated with that event and the safety culture that persisted up to this point, and present-day independent assessment and return to operations.
  4. Restart of the SWiFT Facility and program, with learning organization project management and safety management frameworks focused on sustainability and growth.

As this unique site moves into the next decade of research and service to the wind energy industry, the maturation and evolution of this research facility’s safety management systems can also provide industry with valuable insight into the areas of operations management and systems safety within a government research environment. The SWiFT Program, leadership and staff moved from an remote research facility to one that reached out to subject matter experts, built a safety management system framework from the ground up, and dramatically shifted its culture from one of solving environmental, health and safety problems in isolation due to a perception of the uniqueness of wind energy systems, to one of safety ownership and reach back into corporate resources, and teaming to find win-win solutions and sustainability in its safety systems and safety management.

Speaker Tim Riley, CEP, CSP, PMP

Timothy began his professional journey enlisting in the U.S. Air Force as a helicopter crew chief. During the period following the Space Shuttle Challenger accident, Tim joined the Space Shuttle Launch & Landing Team at the Kennedy Space Center as a Space Shuttle orbiter thermal protection system technician. Tim then transitioned into Shuttle main engine compartment systems and concluded his 23 years and support of 110 manned missions with the Shuttle Program as Operations Chief for Space Shuttle integration, leading Shuttle assembly and landing convoy teams, as well as conducting investigations of ground operations mishaps, and supporting Space Shuttle Columbia recovery operations in east Texas. Following wheel stop on the last Space Shuttle mission STS-135, Tim joined Siemens Wind Energy as an EHS Manager in new wind projects throughout north and south America, and moved on to Sandia National Labs as the ES&H/Security & Safeguards lead for internal audit. Tim is now the Project Lead for Sandia’s Scaled Wind Farm Technology (SWiFT) Facility, a one-of-a-kind wind energy research site located on the former Reese Air Force Base in Lubbock, TX. Tim earned his BS and MS degrees in environmental management from Rollins College and Webster University, respectively, and a MBA from the Florida Institute of Technology. Tim is currently researching commercial space flight mission assurance towards completion of a Ph.D. in aerospace science, and is a member of the AIAA ISO TC20/SC14 Space Systems and Operations U.S. TAG (ISO/DIS 21350 Space systems — Off-the-Shelf Item Utilization document lead) and S-102 MAWG national standards development teams. Tim holds the Certified Environmental Professional, Certified Safety Professional, and Project Management Professional certifications. Both Tim and his wife Karen enjoy spending time their horses and blue healers in Edgewood, NM, and visiting their four children and four grandchildren as often as possible.

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Select Appetizers will be provided courtesy of NM ASSP & NMSHMM.  Beverages and additional food options are available for individual (no host) purchase.

Venue:  Rio Bravo Brewing Company Barrel Room

1912 2nd St, Albuquerque, New Mexico, 87102


**The Barrel Room is upstairs with stair access only**