JMU selected for wind energy competition

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HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) — The U.S. Department of Energy recently selected James Madison University to participate in a competition designed to provide college students with real-world experience in the wind industry.

A dozen schools were picked for the 2020 Collegiate Wind Competition in Denver, Colorado.

Teams are challenged with various tasks, including building a model turbine, siting a wind plant and presenting a business plan.

More than just science and engineering majors are tapped for the competition, according to Jon Miles, the director for the JMU Office for the Advancement of Sustainable Energy.

"It's a very varied and broadly disciplined industry," he said, "so they encourage us to put together teams that involve students from these various majors and disciplines."

The Department of Energy hosts the competition to prepare students for the industry. The renewable energy sector is expected to expand further in the coming years, and wind turbine technician jobs are listed among the fastest growing positions.

JMU participated in the 2018 and 2014 competitions.

"We've just learned in the past few weeks," Miles said. "That gives us a full month in the spring semester of this year to solicit applications, select our team, meet with our team for several weeks and even have some interactions during the summer so that we're better prepared and farther along in September when the fall semester begins."

Some of the members of JMU's 2018 team will travel to the National Wind Technology Center in May to implement lessons learned last year.