City of Tybee Island Says YES to Wind Energy

Guest Blog | February 24, 2012 | Energy Policy, Wind

SACE staff Chris Carnevale and Jennifer Rennicks contributed to this post.

We commend the Tybee Island City Council for passing the “Tybee Island Wind Power Resolution” last night. The resolution recognizes the significance of the coastal Southeast’s vast wind resource and its opportunity for affordable, clean, renewable energy and economic development. City Councilman Paul Wolff presented the resolution last night which passed by a 4-3 vote.  As the first municipality in Georgia to pass a resolution like this, Tybee Island has broken ground for local governments to provide leadership in building a clean energy economy.

“The more I talk to people about the benefits of developing wind resources from an environmental, economic, and philosophical standpoint, [the more] I find that most people agree that developing wind resources would be beneficial, but that there seems to be no political will to move forward” said Councilman Wolff. “As an elected official, I felt it was my responsibility to show that at least one local government in Georgia is in favor of developing wind resources for our community, our nation, and the world at large.”

Georgia Offshore Wind Resource Map
This map, produced by Geo-Marine for a SACE managed regional offshore wind mapping study, shows 1,126 square miles of “least intrusive” areas off Georgia's coast that might be suitable for wind development, which could support 14.5 GW of offshore wind capacity.

SACE firmly agrees with Wolff, noting that Georgia has enough offshore wind resources to power up to 3 million homes with clean, nonpolluting energy.  Furthermore, the development of wind energy presents key economic opportunities by bringing thousands of new jobs to the state while offering energy to ratepayers at a stable price which will not be subject to commodity price swings like coal or natural gas.

Wolff has been on the steering committee of the Georgia Wind Working Group, a diverse group which consists of over 90 individuals, representing utility companies, wind developers, government agencies, universities, and other interested stakeholders. The group has been building regional support for wind energy for the past few years, which has certainly helped to build the political will that spurred Tybee Island City Council to pass the resolution last night.

Anna Cayce Smit, Clean Energy Associate for SACE, was recently on Tybee Island promoting offshore wind energy for Georgia. “I was inspired by the growing optimism for wind energy within the local community,” said Smit.  “Councilman Wolff has been an excellent proponent for wind energy and we laud him for his forward thinking and leadership.  SACE will continue to work to ensure that the momentum that was established with this resolution inspires other communities to accept similar resolutions in the near future. More work is needed at the local, state and federal level and The City of Tybee Island has taken a pioneering first step in support of sensible energy development that other government bodies would benefit from following.”

The adopted resolution can be viewed here.

More information about wind energy is available here.

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