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JMU Gets $800,000 Grant to Bolster Wind Power Initiatives

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James Madison University's work to train students in wind power technologies and to assist Virginia residents in installing wind power infrastructure received an $800,000 boost Thursday at the close of the annual Virginia Wind Energy Symposium.

Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling announced the grant during a keynote address on the second day of the two-day conference attended by educators, wind energy industry representatives and other wind energy stakeholders and advocates.

The money will be used to develop a small wind training and testing facility. Support for the facility will be provided through the State Energy Program of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

“The grant announced today by Lt. Gov. Bolling will fund a commitment to advance the use of wind energy as a clean and renewable energy source for Virginia,” said JMU President Linwood H. Rose. “Importantly, the grant will make possible the training of personnel who will analyze, design, build, install and maintain wind energy infrastructure. The award is a credit to Dr. Jon Miles and the Virginia Wind Energy Collaborative.”

Miles is a professor of integrated science and technology at JMU and a founder of VWEC, which hosts the conference. VWEC was established to educate the public and inform decision-makers about wind power development in Virginia, in support of the commonwealth’s need for reliable and affordable energy, environmental quality and economic development.

Bolling said, “JMU, with its Virginia Center for Wind Energy, is well positioned to continue its leadership role in wind energy development and delivery of a training curriculum.”

Bolling also said the small wind training and testing facility will help increase the potential for growth of green jobs in Virginia while advancing implementation of wind power across the commonwealth.

The $800,000 will be used for a training curriculum that will focus on small wind turbine safety, site assessment, installation and troubleshooting. It also will pay for relocating the existing JMU wind turbine and for building a new one.

More information about the Virginia Wind Energy Collaborative is available at: http://vwec.cisat.jmu.edu/.

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