Last week I attended the American Wind Energy Association’s (AWEA) WindPower 2012 Conference and Exhibition at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta. A large portion of my work is focused on offshore wind energy so I chose to attend sessions that addressed offshore wind energy’s viability in the Southeast, new technology developments, current policy barriers and wildlife issues.
One presentation that really interested me looked at various aspects of offshore wind potential in the Southeast, including shallow water wind resource, construction costs and electricity markets. While I knew that approximately 63% of the east coast shallow water wind resource resides in the Southeast, I was stunned to learn that out of all the east coast states, South Carolina at approximately 1,310 kilowatt hours per month and Georgia at approximately 1, 265 kilowatt hours per month have the highest “Per Capita” residential electricity use, over two times that of New York state’s (this figure was calculated using data from Tables 1&2). According to Brian O’Hara, President of the North Carolina Offshore Wind Coalition, the Southeast is only using about 2.1% of renewables to meet existing generation demands.
Recently, Brian Robinson, a spokesman for Gov. Nathan Deal issued a statement that “We’re not going to produce wind energy here, but these parts have got to be made somewhere, and from the governor’s point of view, it should be done in Georgia.” While I am happy to see the governor’s office supporting the manufacturing of wind energy components, I am disappointed to see the limited scope of their expectations for wind energy in our state.
If you support the development of offshore wind energy in the Southeast, and would like to see your elected officials pursuing favorable wind energy policies, please sign this petition. Let’s send a message to our governors’ offices and to all of our elected officials that we are ready for clean, renewable energy.