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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."
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 South Carolina Institute for Energy Studies at Clemson University has begun studying the feasibility of harnessing wind power to generate electricity in the state, according to Nick Rigas, Institute director.
The government wants to know what people think about generating energy from wind, currents and waves off the S.C. coast. The idea is to harvest energy from wind and water turbines and send the power back to shore through cables. The greatest potential for wind energy is beyond three miles off the coast, outside state territorial waters, said John Clark, a spokesman for the state Energy Office.
The notion is almost surreal - rows on rows of mammoth propellers, each blade taller than a football field is long, whirling offshore just above the horizon. The chances of seeing a wind farm in the ocean off South Carolina might be just that fantastic, even though it's getting a good hard look.
Santee Cooper, the state-owned utility based in Moncks Corner, unveiled a $2.5 billion plan Monday to build four new power plants, including two nuclear generators, by 2019 to meet surging demand from new residents and businesses.