Virginia’s wind resources are largely untapped, but a two-day symposium next week at James Madison University aims to stimulate dialogue about and facilitate development of this energy source. WMRA’s Christopher Clymer Kurtz reports.
Next Wednesday’s forum hosted by the American Wind Energy Association will be attended by representatives from across the spectrum, from traditional to new sources of energy. Panelists from the Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals, and Energy, the Sierra Club, Dominion, Appalachian Power, Apex Clean Energy, and the Virginia Renewable Energy Alliance will discuss the benefits and challenges of Virginia’s wind resources potential, in part focusing on an Apex land-based wind project called Rocky Forge Wind in Botetourt County, which could power 20,000 homes. That project recently received local approval and is now going through the state permitting process. Construction could begin as early as this fall.
Dr. Jonathan Miles is the director of the Virginia Center for Wind Energy at JMU.
JONATHAN MILES: We’re certainly not the leading state in terms of wind resources. We’re not anywhere close to the bottom state, either. We’re somewhere in the middle.
Day two of the symposium on Thursday is dedicated to offshore wind resources, focusing on the supply chain and workforce development for wind farming off the coast of Virginia.
MILES: We have what is arguably one of the best offshore wind resources in the country. Our state was active years before the Department of Energy was even very active in advancing offshore wind. I think we’re going to max out our solar much faster than we’re going to max out our wind deployment capacity. It’s hard to find a place to put 50 megawatts of solar, but it’s relatively straightforward to find a place that can accommodate 50 megawatts of wind.
The symposium is open to the public.
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