Wind Energy at Local College

May 3, 2012 by  
Filed under Green Energy News

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Gov. Bob McDonnell said he wants the Commonwealth to be the “energy capital of the East Coast.”

McDonnell recently approved 13 pieces of energy-related bills that address the state’s renewable sources of energy such as wind and solar power.

While Virginia may be home to off-shore wind turbine farms in the near future, here in the Valley, people are already looking into alternative energy sources for the community.

One group at James Madison University is trying to make that a reality. One small wind turbine on the campus may change the way you think about energy.

Remy Pangle with the school’s Virginia Center for Wind Energy wants to see the possibilities.

“I’m really excited,” said Pangle. “I’m even more excited to see the ground breaking actually start testing and training some people.”

The the whole point is using the 120-foot tall turbine to educate people interested in the technology.

Wind Research Analyst Kenney Howell said this turbine could easily power a house if used correctly.

“We don’t want people to put them in if they’re not going to do anything for them,” said Howell. “Basically spending money when they’re not getting what they think they’re getting.”

Not only is wind turbine energy being used there but solar panels are also being used.

The energy they generate is being used to run the entire facility. Just beyond the facility, is land that will one day be home to more turbines.

The group also wants to raise awareness with the government to make turbines easier to get.

“A wind turbine is kind of a like a different animal so to speak. So having those policy paths set up to help expedite the process is very, very important.”

Tests and research will also be conducted in hopes the technology can be expanded.

“I foresee this being a great community outreach program,” said Pangle. “People can come. They can see different types of wind turbines. They can really get a feel for the fact there are really small ones and really big ones.”

The average cost of a turbine is nearly $20,000 and there are still some finishing touches needed on the JMU facility.

It’s expected to open in mid-June.

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