Articles from South Carolina
A presidential memorandum that halts offshore drilling and testing off South Carolina waters also puts an end to the burgeoning offshore wind industry, clean energy advocates say.
“There are a lot of areas off the coast that would not be permissible (for wind turbines) because they are training mission routes,” said Bill Bethea, chairman of the S.C. Military Base Task Force. “It’s not telling you what you can and can’t do. It tells you how to go about it.”
The military’s concern is real. The Navy wants to renew a five-year permit that allows a sea and air warfare-training range along 50,000 square miles off the East Coast, including South Carolina, starting 12 miles out. The bigger turbines under development rise as high as a football field is long, with blades stretching out 60 feet. The turbine housing itself is as big as a passenger jet. Radar, particularly older radar, picks up the turning blades and the signal could be misread.
Duke Energy Carolinas has quietly abandoned plans for purchasing up to 500 megawatts worth of wind power capacity for the Carolinas by 2022 after finding the initial bids from producers "not economically attractive."
Two companies have been tasked by the federal government with conducting ultra-high resolution aerial digital surveys of wildlife off the coast of North and South Carolina of sites for proposed offshore wind farms. The survey by APEM, based in Manchester, England, and Normandeau Associates Inc., which has an office in Stanley, N.C., will provide baseline data to help with siting and permitting future developments.
Developers have until Jan. 25 to express an interest in any part or all of four huge areas at least 6 miles out. If not, the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management will suspend its effort to lease the waters, said Brain Krevor, BOEM environmental protection specialist. So far, none has.
Developing wind energy offshore South Carolina’s coast will be a long and complicated project that could take as long as a decade, but if no private investors come forward to pay for the effort the entire process would be dead in the water.
The U.S. Interior Department announced Monday it will include North Myrtle Beach in new reviews to determine whether wind energy should be developed in federal waters along South Carolina’s coast.
One or more batteries in the welding shop at TCL apparently released potentially dangerous hydrogen cyanide and carbon monoxide in a closet containing a bank of batteries used for the wind turbine, according to Beaufort Fire Chief Sammy Negron.
Sanford said he is not against government funding of research but said the stimulus package was billed as a "jobs" effort, and that the payoff wasn't worth what was advertised. "The question is, is that the way that we get our economy going?" he said.
The leader of the Clemson University Restoration Institute told a packed wind energy workshop on Wednesday that South Carolina is a prime location for wind energy development and investment and that now it needs the right regulatory framework.
Officials at the Clemson University Restoration Institute hosted a discussion today about the future of the cavernous warehouse that will be home to a state-of-the-art wind turbine drivetrain testing facility. The institute held the first meeting of its industrial and technical advisory boards, a pair of groups made up of current and potential partners from around the globe, yards away from Building 69 at the former Navy Base in North Charleston.
Planning director Boyd Johnson said he instructed the county building department last week not to issue a building permit for the turbine until the school updated its "planned development" to include a turbine. The block was lifted this week, Johnson said, after planning officials found the turbine won't be as intense as they first believed. In fact, a building permit might not even be required, he said.
Large wind turbines would be clearly visible two miles off the Carolina coast but would all but disappear into the haze eight miles out to sea from the Grand Strand, a new photo simulation shows. Clemson's South Carolina Institute for Energy Studies created the simulation as part of Santee Cooper's research into the viability of building a wind farm off the Grand Strand. The visual impact of the wind turbines has been a major hurdle for some projects in the United States and Europe.
A consortium led by Santee Cooper is studying the feasibility of building a wind farm off the Grand Strand. The public gets its first chance to weigh in on the potential for wind power in South Carolina during a public meeting tonight in Georgetown. "It's a barometer of sorts," Erika Meyers of the S.C. Energy Office said. "We want to gauge the public's concerns and whether the community is supportive of it."
As the debate swirls about the state's future energy needs, one thing has become clear: South Carolina is a lousy place to build a large wind farm. On land, that is. Three years ago, the Energy Office hired a consultant to map wind speeds across the state. Using existing weather data and sophisticated computer-modeling techniques, researchers estimated that wind speeds average less than 10 mph on state soil -- too low to efficiently turn today's huge wind turbines. But it's an entirely different story just off the Carolina coast.
As the state tests the waters for wind energy, an expert from Britain told area leaders Friday how it has worked in Europe.
S.C. Energy Office, which was awarded a $500,000, three-year grant from the U.S. Department of Energy to study the potential for generating wind energy off the coast. Clemson and Coastal Carolina universities and the Savannah River National Lab are also participating in the research. "The purpose of this (grant) is to develop all the necessary regulations and get a better feel for what's available (in wind resources offshore)," said Erika Hartwigof the state energy office.
The United States faces an energy crisis and must fight it in multiple ways -- conservation, additional U.S. drilling, clean coal, building nuclear energy plants and using alternative energy when available, said Charles Jeter, a candidate for the Fourth District seat in Congress. ...Jeter said the country needs to explore all alternative resources that make sense -- wind for one, he said. However, it currently provides only 1 percent of the U.S. energy mix and he doesn't expect it to ever provide more than 3 percent to 5 percent.
Not since President Jimmy Carter had solar panels installed at the White House has there been as much hype for renewable energy sources as there is now. Congress once again is pushing for passage of legislation mandating a "renewable portfolio." South Carolina is wisely letting the free market determine whether renewables will catch on. But 25 states have adopted renewable energy requirements, committing nearly half of our country's population to obtaining as much as 25 percent of their electricity from solar, wind and other "green" sources by 2020. Increasing our use of renewable energy is a worthwhile goal. But if we allow the heavy hand of government to mandate its use, we're setting solar and wind energy up to fail. ...Wind power has appeal not because it's clean, but because tax breaks and subsidies for wind are now so valuable for wind-farm owners.