Tybee Island Community Comes Together for Water and Energy Fair

Guest Blog | February 29, 2012 | Energy Policy, Wind
Sign created by Tybee's Green Team

The wind was blowing in the right direction as I made my way into the Tybee Island YMCA for the Water and Energy Fair on Saturday, February 11.  The fair, which was sponsored by the Tybee Island Community Resource Committee, provided community members with an excellent opportunity to learn about water and energy conservation through workshops and by visiting educational booths that included a variety of vendors. Eight workshops were offered throughout the day, including workshops on solar energy, sea-level rise, and beach ecology.  I presented on offshore wind energy for Georgia and received quite a positive response from the audience.  I think what really hit home for them was when I explained that Georgia has about 14.5 gigawatts of developable offshore wind energy potential, which is enough to provide a third of the state’s electricity.

Before and after my presentation I worked diligently at SACE’s booth to get petition cards signed in support of offshore wind energy for Georgia and want to thank the individuals that signed petitions.  These petition cards will be shared with elected officials at various levels of government in the hopes that they will pursue favorable policies to promote offshore wind energy development.  In fact, SACE has already been able to share the petition cards with the Tybee Island City Council and thanks in part to the individual’s that signed petitions,  the “Tybee Island Wind Power Resolution” was adopted! If you are interested in signing a petition please click here.

Wind turbine, courtesy of Wind Turbines of South Carolina, LLC

While distributing petition cards, I had some very engaging discussions with community members regarding offshore wind energy’s effects on wildlife, particularly birds and fish.  I explained that according to a study that was conducted on Nysted and Horns Rev, the largest offshore wind farms both in Denmark, the environmental impacts of the farms were minimal.  Most birds seemed to fly around offshore wind turbines rather than into them, and fish were often found swimming around the artificial reefs created by the farms.  Some community members were also concerned with aesthetics so I showed them a simulated view of an offshore wind farm 10.2 miles off of Tybee Island and they were shocked by how small the turbines appear to be from the coast.

After several petition cards were signed, I decided to visit some of the other booths at the fair.  There were over thirty booths representing various companies, small businesses, non-profits, educational institutions, and government organizations.

Plan it Green Designs' Booth

Among the booths some of my favorites were Plan it Green Design, Tybee’s Green Team, and Gray’s Reef National Marine Sanctuary.  Plan it Green Design, a company that creates eco-conscious outdoor living spaces had a “flourishing” plant booth set up and was there to answer questions on topics such as drought resistant gardens and rain harvesting. Tybee’s Green Team provided community members with tips on solid waste reduction and energy conservation and incorporated recycled materials into their booth display.  Gray’s Reef National Marine Sanctuary had wonderful video footage of dives around the reef and beautiful posters of the reefs that community members were encouraged to take home.

I think that the fair theme, “Know your Impact” had a double meaning for Tybee community members. One, know your impact on energy and water consumption and two, know your impact on elected officials and the decisions they make that affect your energy and water consumption. As residents of Georgia we have an opportunity to bring about positive change in the energy supply that our state receives.  Conserving water and energy at home is very important but we also need to consider our global impact and what we can do to make our state and country run more efficiently by incorporating more renewable energy into the mix. I would like to congratulate the Tybee Island Community Resource Committee for hosting such an excellent event,  the Tybee Island City Council for adopting the “Tybee Island Wind Power Resolution,” and the coastal community at large for bringing our state one step closer to a clean energy future!

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