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Wind Energy in Virginia: JMU and Beyond By Matthew Heck David Strong Gregory Allen Adam Jones Bryan Franey Advisor: Dr. Jonathan Miles The Beginning In the spring of 2001 two groups formed thesis proposals dealing with wind energy The two groups had two distinct goals and objectives

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Wind Energy in Virginia:JMU and Beyond


Matthew Heck

David Strong

Gregory Allen

Adam Jones

Bryan Franey

Advisor: Dr. Jonathan Miles

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The Beginning

  • In the spring of 2001 two groups formed thesis proposals dealing with wind energy

  • The two groups had two distinct goals and objectives

  • We combined two project proposals to form one with two main sections

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The Virginia State-Based Anemometer Loan Program (SBALP)

  • Purpose - spur the development of the Virginia’s wind resource

    • Help facilitate the development of widely distributed wind expertise throughout the nation

    • Allows landowners to measure their wind energy resource

    • Help Virginia and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory collected data that can be used to validate wind resource models

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Tower siting



Visual impact

Wind modeling (WAsP)

Avian mortality



Grid connection

Economic analysis

JMU East (CISAT) Campus Study

  • More detailed site assessment dealing with issues such as:

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Sailboats on the Nile River


First megawatt turbine in operation (Vermont)


Large wind farms in US


First electricity generating turbine constructed in Denmark


Grain-grinding windmills in the Middle East


American windmill invented


Windmills in the Netherlands

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What Is Wind?

  • Driven by the sun

  • Differences in pressure

  • Hadley convection cells

  • Coriolis Effect

Hadley Cell Model (Western Illinois University)

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Wind Basics

  • Wind speed increases with height

  • Small increases in wind speed result in large increases in power

  • Tall towers often needed for clearance above obstacles (turbulence)

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Wind Resource Assessment

  • Is there enough wind in a particular spot to support a wind turbine?

    • A year’s worth of data is usually the minimum study period

    • Class II needed for small wind, Class IV for large

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Siting of Wind Turbines

  • The concept of micrositing

  • Topographical maps

  • Freedom from obstructions

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  • Loan agreement

    • Borrowers eligibility

    • Borrowing process

  • Application

    • Site information

    • Purpose

  • Contract

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  • Website

  • Press release

    • Media relations

    • Written in a non-technical language

    • Distributed across the state

    • Contact information provided

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Topographic maps

Wind resource maps


Property characteristics

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Rob Preston 10/18/01

Jaye Baldwin 12/12/01

Tim Altizer 12/21/01

Dick Stokes 1/10/02

Henry’s Point 2/24/02

Northampton County 2/24/02

Borrowers/Installation Dates







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Virginia interested

Over 200 inquiries

Approximately 70 applications

Expansion of program

Have groups continue the thesis in upcoming years

Wind Powering America (WPA) proposal

SBALP Conclusions

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SBALP Recommendations

  • Better outreach to public

  • More stringent application process, include more parameters

  • Expand website

  • Establish school contact, answering machine, mailbox, etc.

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Wind Energy Potential at JMU

  • 30-meter Meteorological (MET) tower that we have now can support a turbine

  • East (CISAT) campus in valley, but above immediate surroundings

  • Wind resource purely anecdotal

  • More data necessary

  • Potential for small-scale wind turbine exists

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30-Meter MET Tower

  • Installation next week

  • Wind speed and direction

    • Instruments at 10, 20 and 30 meters

  • Manufactured by Rohn

  • Specially designed for Bergey WindPower turbines

  • 700 Bergey Excel turbines installed

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  • Analyze:

    • Relevant issues and public misconceptions

    • Preliminary economic analysis of wind turbine

    • Non-market benefits

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  • No restrictions on proximity to roads, parking lots, etc.

  • Zoning, permitting, etc. handled by JMU

  • Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) requirements

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Turbine Testing and Safety

  • Proven technology – 150,000 small turbines around globe

  • Small turbine standards – American Wind Energy Association

  • Dynamic and duration testing through accredited test laboratory

  • Turbine failure extremely rare

  • Bergey – passive overspeed protection, heavy-weight material, and fiberglass blades

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Visual Perception

  • Barrier to wind turbine development

  • Misconception turbines will ruin landscape

  • Similar to other structures in area

  • Location already developed (parking lot, light towers)

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Avian Issues

  • Misconception on wind turbine impact

  • More problematic where there is a higher concentration of raptor species

  • Most studies on large-scale wind farms

  • Small swept-area

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Bergey Excel Noise

  • At 300 ft in 25 mph winds sound was measured at 54-55 dB

  • This means it would only be detectable if the ambient background noise were less than 52.5 dB

  • Ambient sound at parking lot measured at 65-70 dB standing on the tower platform

  • Dr. Chen lecture 20 ft away measured at 55-60 dB

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Required WAsP Inputs

  • Wind Atlas

    • Meteorological Tower, Observed Wind Climate

  • Turbine Site

    • Obstacles, power curve

  • Site Description

    • Topography, Roughness, Obstacles

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WAsP – Wind Atlas and Turbine Site

  • Meteorological station

    • Observed wind climate

  • Turbine site

    • Power curve (Excel and XL.1)

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WAsP – Site Description

  • Topography

    • DEM of Harrisonburg Quadrangle

  • Surface Roughness

    • Roughness Classes

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WAsP – Site Description

  • Obstacles

    • CISAT, HHS

    • Potomac

    • Chesapeake

    • College Center

Turbulence created by obstacles

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WAsP Output

  • Annual energy output (11.87 MWh)

  • Wind power density (154.5 W/m2)

  • Mean speed (5.15 m/s)

  • Resource grid

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Economic Analysis

  • Turbine cost

    • Bergey Excel (10 kW)

    • Bergey XL.1 (1 kW)

  • Cash flow analysis

  • Simple and discounted payback

  • Sensitivity analysis

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Economic Conclusions

  • Bergey Excel and XL.1 are unlikely to pay back over lifetime

  • Ways the turbine may become more cost-effective

    • Reduce JMU’s initial investment

    • Verify wind resource

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Non-Market Benefits

  • Education

  • Reputation

  • Promotion of renewable energy

  • Emissions benefits

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  • “The college seeks and creates new models through innovative curriculum development and uses the advancing knowledge of science and ever-evolving technologies to integrate the rapidly shifting world into the professional lives of faculty and students.”

    • Excerpt from CISAT mission statement

  • Growing, sustainable technology

  • Hands-on learning experience

  • Benefits for a variety of courses

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  • National and local recognition

  • Solar panels and wind turbine – technologically advanced university

  • Visible symbol for prospective students

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Promotion of Renewable Energy

  • Raise local and state awareness

  • Encourage wind energy use

  • Provide opportunity to educate

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Virginia’s electricity production on average emits 1.83 pounds of CO2 per kWh

Average tree consumes 14.7 pounds of carbon dioxide each year

The combustion of a gallon of gasoline produces 19.59 pounds of CO2

The average gas mileage of an American car is 17 mpg

WAsP model predicted annual energy output of 11.87 MWh

Equivalent to

21,722 lbs CO2 from power generation

1,478 trees

1,108 gallons of gasoline

18,850 automobile miles traveled

Emission Benefits

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East (CISAT) Campus Conclusions and Recommendations pounds of CO

  • Data very preliminary – obtain at least one year

  • Commonly perceived problems should not obstruct development at JMU

  • Likely will not pay back economically without discounts, grants, or other funding

  • Positive impact on education, reputation, and promotion of renewables

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Questions? pounds of CO

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Dr. Jonathan Miles pounds of CO

Mr. Ken Jurman

Ms. Maryanne Daniels

Mr. Tony Jiminez

Mr. Charlie King

Dr. Doug Brown

Mr. David Mars

Ms. Christine Watson

Mr. Brent Beerley

Mr. Kevin Schulte

Mr. Theo de Wolff

Mr. Mike Bergey

Mr. Steve Wilke

Dr. Jack Taylor

Mr. Rob Preston

Mr. Tim Hayes

Mr. Dick Stokes

Mr. Jaye Baldwin

Mr. Rick Hall

Mr. Tim Altizer

Ms. Tyler Urr

Ms. Dodge Chrysler Perry

Ms. Bunty Dharamsi

Ms. Peter Salmon

All applicants

All others