Wind power is one of the fastest growing sources of new power generation. Modern wind turbines use moving air currents (wind) to turn rotor blades using the same principles as aircraft wings. The rotation of these blades turns a shaft connected to an electrical generator.
Wind turbines are often defined as small, medium or large scale. Small turbines typically are from less than one kilowatt up to about 100 kilowatts. Intermediate size turbines are typically 100 to 500 kilowatts, and large turbines greater than 500 kilowatts. The largest turbines currently being field-tested are on the order of six megawatts.
Although Virginia does not currently have any utility-scale wind power in operation, wind power developers are interested in possible projects in the Commonwealth, both onshore and on the Outer Continental Shelf off Virginia’s coast.
The Division of Energy collaborates with Universities, Environmental groups, and other Non-profit organizations to explore Virginia’s options for developing its wind resource, both on and offshore.
The Division was a founding supporter of the Virginia Wind Energy Collaborative (VWEC). VWEC was established to educate the public and inform decision-makers about wind power development in Virginia and to support the Commonwealth’s need for reliable and affordable energy, environmental quality, and economic development. VWEC provides a number of tools and services to support the growth of wind power in Virginia.
The Center for Wind Energy at James Madison University provides wind related services to local governments, state agencies, landowners, academia, non-governmental organizations, and businesses. These services include wind resource measurements, economic modeling, education & outreach, energy policy analysis, assessment of technical specifications, and Geographic Information Systems analysis. Data from the State Based Anemometer Loan Program (SBALP) can be used to assist landowners in determining the potential for installing small wind turbines on their property.
Virginia Wind Maps, and the Small Wind Guide for Virginia, both developed in collaboration with the U.S DOE and NREL, provide useful information and data that can help you make an informed decision on whether wind power is right for you and your particular location.