Only in Virginia…

Source: National Renewable Energy Laboratory

Who came up with this idea? Now that Dominion Energy has completed reliability testing for its first two offshore wind turbines, the Northam administration is announcing the formation of the Mid-Atlantic Wind Training Alliance to provide industry certifications for wind-project operations and maintenance. What better place to base such a program than…. 200 miles away from the wind industry in a place with virtually no wind. Yes, friends, the new program will be hosted by the New College in Martinsville where average wind speeds (see map) are among the lowest in the state. To be fair, according to Virginia Business, alliance partners Centura College and the Mid-Atlantic Maritime Academy are located in Hampton Roads where the wind industry will be located.

JMU’s enrollment meltdown. James Madison University is getting hammered by the COVID-19 epidemic — and the administration’s handling of it. First, 250 students, mostly freshmen, chose to defer their enrollment. That’s out of an undergraduate student body of roughly 22,000. Then, after a spike in positive cases early in the semester, students were sent home in mid-September for about a month. Now they’re returning. But not all are returning. As of the latest report, according to the Daily News-Record, 1,798 had discontinued at JMU. That far exceeds the normal attribution rate; last year only 1,063 students dropped out during the fall semester.

Loudoun Schools briefly recover sanity. The Loudoun County School Board has voted to revise its “Professional Conduct” policy governing speech off school property, which would have forbidden employees from making public utterances opposing a controversial school policy to dismantle “white supremacy” and “systemic racism.” After an outcry from teachers unions and community members against this blatant violation of free speech, the board voted 9 to 0 to refer the draft policy back to the human resources department, reports The Virginia Star.

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12 responses to “Only in Virginia…

  1. James Wyatt Whitehead V

    I ideal location for a windfarm. The drill field at VPI. The wind is endlessly powerful here from October to April.

  2. Well, at least this will give the New College something to do. The state is desperate to find something to justify the funding for that entity. I am puzzled by the choice of Centura College, a for-profit school. Why not involve a community college?

    • Bound to have bought at least a couple of floor votes for the Virginia Clean Energy “We Don’t Actually Need” Act.

    • That’s what got me too. There’s a longstanding relationship between Southside Virginia CC and Dominion regarding line worker training — why not build on that? But as Steve sayeth above…it could well be politics.

  3. James Wyatt Whitehead V

    Loudoun is only briefly returning to sanity. Middle and school instruction will not begin until January 21st. At the school board meeting parents had a chance to give a 30 second statement to the board. I was impressed with the thoughtfully considered arguments that parents made for opening schools back up with just 30 seconds of time. You can watch here. Click the little film button for video. I can only imagine how many thousands of parents are sharing this frustration.

  4. Well, the damned things is 30 miles at sea. I suppose that given you can’t locate the classes on-site, then the extra 200 miles is nothing.

    But, uh, not to burst your bubble, maybe this program serves other wind farms that are located, oh say, in North Carolina. Seems I recall they are way ahead of, or in youse guy’s case, behind, Virginia in that department.

  5. First, glad to hear that Virginia is trying to capitalize on the potential jobs in clean energy. That’s a step in the right direction. Second, the Martinsville choice seems like another example of attempted rural renaissance through mouth to wallet resuscitation by the Northam Administration. The focus for Virginia’s wind energy industry should be in Hampton Roads.

    • Could it be construction costs? Subsidizing rural economies is a likely component of all this, but running up a training turbine in some Southside cornfield — assuming the program will actually give trainees on-site experience with generation assets — is probably cheaper than the land+permitting costs of doing so in Hampton Roads.

    • Virginia is “all in” on this.
      I believe other Virginia colleges are probably already heavily involved in planning for our offshore wind future.

  6. I’d like to hear more open info about the Va. wind turbine testing experience including any issues from Hurricane Isaias…

    Seems like the NJ project has slowed for some reason.

    In general, unspinned info tends to be hard to come by.

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