The following is a guest post written by Jen Banks, Director of Operations for the Southeastern Coastal Wind Coalition originally posted here.
The Southeastern states from Virginia to Florida are home to over 65 wind related manufacturing facilities that support thousands of wind energy jobs in the Southeast region. These supply chain facilities could expand significantly as land-based and offshore wind developments begin in the region. Besides having a highly-skilled manufacturing base, the Southeast has several other competitive advantages, including the lowest estimated construction cost for offshore wind projects on the East Coast according to the Energy Information Administration. The region is also home to nearly half of the offshore wind resource and five of the six largest electricity markets on the East Coast.
The following recent activities and announcements highlight the wind industry’s momentum in the region:
- The Department of Energy’s 2012 Wind Technologies Market Report released last month found that the turbines installed in 2012 have an increased average hub height and rotor diameter than in years past – these developments in land-based turbine technology benefit development in lower wind speed areas like the Southeast region.
- Georgia Power announced this April that 250 megawatts of wind energy will be purchased from EDP wind farms in Oklahoma starting in January 2016. The electricity provided will be enough to power over 50,000 homes in Georgia Power’s service territory.
- A South Carolina Supply Chain Survey and Offshore Wind Economic Impact Study released in 2012 estimates an annual average of 3,329 jobs per year with the installation of 1,000 MW off the coast of South Carolina.
- The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) held the competitive lease sale for Virginia’s Wind Energy Area this past week. The area, covering over 112,000 acres, is now going to be looked at for development by Dominion Power.
- The city of Charleston, S.C., recently passed a resolution recognizing the economic benefits of offshore wind energy and welcoming the industry. With world-class ports & transportation infrastructure, highly-skilled, low-cost labor, and some of the most advanced research facilities in the world, Charleston and other Southeastern coastal cities have what it takes to be leaders in the wind industry supply chain.
- Coastal Carolina University in Conway, South Carolina will unveil a state-of-the-art research vessel, called the Coastal Explorer, this winter. The vessel will be similar to those carrying out survey work for offshore wind projects in Europe and will be a great asset for the offshore wind industry on the East Coast.
- A Department of Energy fact sheet released in July, “Potential Economic Impacts from Offshore Wind in the Southeast Region,” applied the new offshore wind Jobs and Economic Development Impacts (JEDI) model to Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia. The results showed that a “moderate” development scenario would result in over 20,000 construction jobs and 6,700 permanent jobs in the Southeast by 2030.
Industry, policy makers and the public can learn more about wind energy potential and activities in the region during the Southeastern Coastal Wind Conference September 11-12, 2013. The conference, located in North Charleston, S.C., will feature session tracks covering land-based wind, offshore wind and the supply chain. General Sessions will highlight utility involvement in the region and offshore wind strategies from Europe. In addition to educational sessions, attendees will have a chance to view simulations from BOEM’s NC visual simulation study and tour Clemson University’s new Wind Turbine Drivetrain Testing Facility in North Charleston.
“The conference is a great example of the regional approach that the Southeastern Coastal Wind Coalition is promoting.” said Brian O’Hara, President of the Southeastern Coastal Wind Coalition. “By leveraging the strengths of each state, the Southeast is poised to be a major player in the wind energy industry.”
Over 20 organizing partners are engaged in the planning of the conference, including the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy. To view the complete agenda and learn more, please visit http://www.secoastalwind.org/conference. On-site registration is $445.