Baker Renewable Energy Installs Wind Energy System at James Madison University


Baker Renewable Energy announced today it has installed a wind energy system at James Madison University featuring a 7.5-kilowatt Bergey wind turbine. Baker Renewable Energy installed the turbine as part of the Small Wind Training and Testing Facility, an educational initiative launched by the Virginia Center for Wind Energy (VCWE). The wind system is capable of producing 10,000-12,000 kWh of energy a year when operating at average annual wind speeds of 5 m/s, which is enough to power an average-sized house for a year.

Baker Renewable Energy installed the turbine on JMU’s East Campus, adjacent to the CISAT library. It, along with a small solar array, will provide clean power to the new building, while wind instruments on the tower will measure wind flow to provide VCWE with data on area wind patterns.  The turbine has a total rotor diameter of 23 feet, which when added to the 120-foot-tall, Rohn self-supporting lattice tower, places the total height of the system at 131.5 feet.

“We are excited to have been involved in this project, especially since it benefits the greater community in so many ways,” said Jason Epstein, executive vice president of Baker Renewable Energy.  “In addition to providing continuous, clean energy and reducing utility costs, the turbine will also offer a hands-on educational opportunity for students who are interested in the renewable energy field, further supporting the industry in Virginia.”

This initiative will allow VCWE to provide educational outreach to JMU students, area entrepreneurs and local K-12 schools. JMU professors will be able to use the facility as a teaching tool geared toward student entrepreneurs who may be interested in wind power-oriented business. Such a curriculum, and the advancement of the wind industry, will help diversify the state’s energy resources.

“Our goal is to cultivate a community that is educated in wind energy; therefore, we need to inform decision-makers, members of the public and local students about wind power development initiatives in Virginia,” said Dr. Jonathan Miles, professor in the College of Integrated Science and Technology, coordinator of the International Masters Program and director of the Virginia Center for Wind Energy at JMU. “We are grateful to Baker Renewable Energy for supporting our efforts to bring economic development, high environmental quality and reliable and affordable energy to the Commonwealth.” “The wind industry continues to gain visibility and traction across the Southeast and we are glad to support its development,” added John Matthews, president of Baker Renewable Energy. “The turbine provides a valuable training tool that will help to develop the Virginia workforce.”

Baker Renewable Energy has completed a number of other wind projects in Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina. The company installed a wind turbine for the North Carolina Solar Center, for the utility Santee Cooper in South Carolina and for the Wind for Schools program in Virginia, which assists in providing wind turbines and curricula to schools across the country through a Department of Energy and National Renewable Energy Labs (NREL) platform. BRE has also worked with other schools such as New River Community College to install smaller wind systems.

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