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Carroll, JMU considering wind project

Fancy Gap is one of the windiest locations in Carroll County. That fact might be put to good use in a partnership between the Carroll County Public Schools and James Madison University.

During the September meeting of the Carroll County School Board, Director of Middle and Secondary Education Dr. Mark Burnette approached the board with the partnership.

“Fancy Gap was chosen as one of four schools in the state whose physical school site had enough wind to sustain a wind turbine,” Burnette said. “What we’re planning on doing is meeting with folks from James Madison, and the building inspector for the county to see if we have a place suitable on the site for a wind turbine. There are requirements from the state.”

Last week, Burnette said the site on the campus of Fancy Gap Elementary was deemed suitable to proceed.

“They did like the site,” he said. “Once we get school board and board of supervisors approval and secure the money, we’ll go forward with that as well.”

The next step beyond board approval is securing grant funds for the project. Burnette said while JMU won’t foot the bill, the university will help Carroll County in grant-writing and in procuring the necessary dollars to make the site go.

While it’s too late to try to sell any generated power back to Appalachian Electric Power, Burnette said it’s possible that any electricity made from the turbine could be used to power utilities on the school’s campus.

Burnette said it will be a great tool to teach students about alternate forms of energy.

“We’ll use the students from the high school and the elementary school to collect wind data,” he said. “It looks to be a good project for the kids and something we need for our school system.”