James Madison University

Programs and Services

The Virginia Center for Wind Energy (VCWE) at JMU represents a collective of researchers from all over the Commonwealth and its mission is to facilitate research, development and outreach in wind energy throughout the Commonwealth. Though the administration hub of VCWE is located at JMU, this is a state-wide center serving the Virginia Wind Energy Collaborative (VWEC), State-Based Anemometer Loan Application (SBALP), Wind for Schools (WfS), and the Small Wind Testing and Training Facility (SWTTF) among other grant funded projects.

VCWE houses the office of the Virginia Wind Energy Collaborative. VWEC was established in 2002 with support from the U.S. Department of Energy – Wind Powering America and the Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals, and Energy – Energy Division. Please contact us at vwec@jmu.edu if you wish to participate in a conversation that addresses opportunities to employ education, outreach, and development of resources in support of wind energy throughout the Commonwealth or even you have any further questions regarding those services. For more information on our outreach efforts in communities and counties around the Commonwealth, such as wind ordinance assistance, the VRS3 and the LCS, visit the VWEC website.

VCWE also runs a State Based Anemometer Loan Program that is designed to empower landowners by generating their interest in wind energy through the borrowing of meteorological (met) towers outfitted with anemometers and wind vanes and encouraging wind development. Each tower will remain up at the location for 1 full year or more upon renewal.

JMU has been asked to oversee the development of wind projects as part of the Virginia Small Wind Rebate and Grant Program, a program offered through the Department of Mines, Minerals, and Energy. Please see the rebate program page for more information on the process rebate customers must follow to ensure that JMU approves their project (system installed and installer).

Throughout the process of reviewing the many projects in the rebate program, we recognized a need for an increased small wind installer base in Virginia. To address this issue we have begun designing a Virginia Small Wind Installer Training Program that aims to provide proper training to those installers wishing to brush up their skills or learn more about the project development process, from wind resource assessment to operation and maintenance. If you are an installer of small wind turbines in Virginia or would like to install turbines, please see the Wind Installer Training page for more information about the process and contact information.

The Virginia Wind for Schools program is a new program funded by the Department of Energy – Wind Powering America program at VCWE. This is a national program that has been running in 6 states for the last 3 years and in 2010 was expanded into 5 new states, Virginia being one of them. The general approach of the Wind for Schools project is to install small wind turbines at K12 schools while developing a Wind Application Center (WAC) at a state university. Teacher training and hands-on curricula are implemented at each K12 school to bring the wind turbine into the classroom through interactive and interschool wind-related research tasks. For more details about this program and how it will be structured in Virginia, as well as for educational resources (lesson plans, data, links, etc.) see the Alternative Energy Educational Resources page.

JMU received $800,000 from the Commonwealth of Virginia (American Reinvestment and Recovery Act funds) to create a Small Wind Test and Training Facility on campus. VCWE recently finished constructing this facility and is now open to the public. We expect to have a permanent 10kw wind turbine as well as a tilt up Skystream 3.7 (2.4kw) for testing and training purposes. We are also looking into the possibility of acquiring a vertical axis wind turbine for testing. The facility would be used for training small wind installers and students and would be available as a test site for small wind manufacturers