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JMU in DoE wind power competitions

by Eric Gorton

2019 wind competitions


James Madison University has been selected by the U.S. Department of Energy to participate in the 2020 Collegiate Wind Competition. Before that contest, students who participated in the 2018 Collegiate Wind Competition will get a chance to improve on their performance by implementing lessons learned for a 2019 competition at the National Wind Technology Center in Boulder, Colorado in May. 

“We had to be selected to participate in 2019 and we were,” said Jon Miles, professor of integrated science and technology. Miles worked with Keith Holland, associate professor of engineering, and C.K. Lee, assistant professor of management, to assemble the 30-member student team that competed in 2018. 

The 2018 team finished first in the business portion of the contest and second in the siting portion. Evaluation of the team’s wind turbine design was positive and encouraging, although the testing of their prototype revealed some flaws that have since been corrected, Miles said. Lessons learned in that contest will be applied in the 2019 contest May 7-9. The 2019 contest will have the model turbine and siting competitions, but not the business portion.

In May 2020, JMU will take a new team to the Collegiate Wind Competition, a biennial event that challenges multidisciplinary teams of undergraduate students to develop a project plan based on wind energy market and siting considerations; design and build a model wind turbine; and test their turbine against a set of rigorous performance criteria. The participating teams will combine the expertise of students from a variety of programs, such as engineering, business, communications and social science, to develop state-of-the-art wind energy solutions as a team. Participants will intertwine academic coursework with tangible, hands-on learning, and earn valuable real-world experience as they prepare to enter the workforce. 

The competition will feature 12 teams, including JMU, and will culminate with judging June 1-4, 2020 at the American Wind Energy Association's WINDPOWER conference in Denver, Colorado. 

JMU has been in the competition twice, the inaugural event in 2014 and again in 2018. 

Other schools in the 2020 competition are: 

  • California State University, Chico
  • California State University Maritime Academy
  • University of Maryland
  • University of New Haven
  • Northern Arizona University
  • The Pennsylvania State University
  • Texas Tech University
  • Tuskegee University
  • Virginia Tech
  • Washington State University-Everett with Everett Community College
  • University of Wisconsin-Madison



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Published: Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Last Updated: Wednesday, October 6, 2021

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