James Madison University recently installed a 120-foot-tall wind turbine as part of its Small Wind Training and Testing Facility, an educational initiative launched by the Virginia Center for Wind Energy (VCWE). The 7.5 kW Bergey turbine has a 23-ft. rotor diameter, which, when added to the 120-foot-tall, ROHN self-supporting lattice tower, places the total height of the system at 131.5 feet. The project was funded by a grant from the state, donations and a partnership with JMU’s Facilities Management. The system is capable of producing 10,000-12,000 kWh of energy a year when operating at average annual wind speeds of 5 m/s.
“Our goal is to cultivate a community educated in wind energy. So we need to inform decision-makers, members of the public, and local students about wind power development initiatives in Virginia,” said Dr. Jonathan Miles, professor in the College of Integrated Science and Technology, coordinator of the International Masters Program and director of the Virginia Center for Wind Energy at JMU.
Because of its expertise, Baker Renewable Energy was brought in to install the wind turbine. A small solar array will also provide clean power to JMU’s College of Integrated Science and Technology library. Wind instruments on the tower will measure wind flow to provide VCWE with data on area wind patterns.
VCWE conducts teaching, training, research and development on siting, safety, installation and operations, with the goal of cultivating a community educated in wind energy. This particular initiative will let the organization provide educational outreach about wind power development initiatives in Virginia to JMU students, area entrepreneurs and local K-12 schools. Professors can use the facility as a teaching tool geared toward student entrepreneurs who may be interested in wind power-oriented business. Such a curriculum, and the advancement of the wind industry in general, will help bring economic development, high environmental quality, and reliable and affordable energy to the Commonwealth.
James Madison University
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