Wednesday, October 05, 2011
Contact: Pat Dickson, University Communications, (304) 696-7153

State Wind Working Group to be transferred from WVU to Marshall

HUNTINGTON, W. Va. – The West Virginia Division of Energy has announced that the state Wind Working Group (WWG) will be transferred to Marshall University from West Virginia University. The group is sponsored by U.S. Department of Energy funds through the West Virginia Division of Energy.

The Wind Working Group will be directed by Christine Risch, Director of Research at Marshall’s Center for Business and Economic Research (CBER). This will be in collaboration with Marshall’s Center for Environmental, Geotechnical and Applied Sciences (CEGAS).

The WWG consists of wind developers, state regulators, economic development organizations, county officials, landowners, university researchers, representatives of the U.S. Department of Energy, the state energy office, environmental groups and the general public.

WWG’s overall goal is generally to advance wind energy as an additional state energy resource. This includes promotion of small-scale wind opportunities and educating the public on net metering, in which those who install wind generation facilities can sell the energy they generate to electric distribution companies.

The WWG also will acquaint local economic development authorities with wind opportunities for sustainable economic growth, advance hybrid energy systems combining wind and fossil energy to provide continuous generation capability, and serve as a source of information to government, business and individuals on pending wind energy developments and policy initiatives.

CBER has been involved with several aspects of wind energy over the past five years, including economic impact studies, research on the impact of wind facilities on property values, research on integration of wind into the electricity transmission system, and review of state wind facility citing policy and government programs for wind energy development.

Under Risch’s leadership, an assessment of state policies to promote alternative energy, including wind, was completed for the 13-state Appalachian Regional Commission. CBER contributed to the current West Virginia Energy Plan and is working on its revision. CEGAS has been developing wind assessment projects, focusing on measuring wind speeds on surface mine sites in West Virginia using Sonic Detection and Ranging (SoDAR) equipment to determine if the level of wind is capable of producing sufficient electricity to be economically viable.

Dr. Cal Kent, Vice President of Business and Economic Research at Marshall, noted, “Locating the Wind Working Group at Marshall recognizes the leadership that Christy Risch has provided for the state in alternative and renewable energy. This is another indication of the importance of CBER to the economic growth of the state.”

The Wind Working Group’s annual meeting took place last month at the Canaan Valley Resort in Davis, W.Va. Both CBER and CEGAS gave presentations at the meeting. The next WWG meeting will take place in September 2012. For more information, contact Risch at 304-696-6251.

For further information, contact:  Office of University Communications
Marshall University | 213 Old Main | Huntington, WV 25755-1090
Fax: (304) 696-3197