N.C. & S.C. Collaborate on Offshore Wind Projects

Guest Blog | July 7, 2011 | Press Releases

Raleigh, NC & Charleston, SC (July 7, 2011) – Representatives from South Carolina and North Carolina met in Charlotte in June to discuss opportunities for collaborating to accelerate the development of offshore wind energy on the south Atlantic seaboard. The meeting is being heralded as a significant first step towards regional collaboration for offshore wind in the Southeast.

The objective of the two-state meeting was to explore ways to leverage each state’s unique experience, knowledge, and resources to accelerate the deployment of offshore wind energy in a way that is mutually beneficial to both states. “Our states are uniquely positioned with strengths and advantages that complement each other.” said Elizabeth Colbert-Busch of the Clemson University Restoration Institute. Some of the initial opportunities that were discussed included enabling various research institutions to collaborate on future research projects and exploring the possibility of an offshore wind energy project along the NC/SC border.

Represented organizations included U.S. Department of Energy Savannah River National Laboratory, Santee Cooper, N.C. Offshore Wind Coalition, N.C. Department of Commerce, N.C. Solar Center, N.C. Sustainable Energy Association, S.C. Energy Office, Clemson University Restoration Institute, Coastal Carolina University, S.C. Coastal Conservation League, the North Strand Coastal Wind Team, and the City of North Myrtle Beach, S.C. An Impressive Resource
According to a report by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, 33 percent of the total East Coast offshore wind energy within 50 miles of the shoreline is located off the coast of North and South Carolina and both states have offshore wind energy resources that exceed their current installed electricity generation capacity. “Based on the report, North Carolina and South Carolina have the largest offshore wind energy resources in shallow water on the Atlantic Seaboard,” said Ralph Nichols Wind Energy Program Manager at the Savannah River National Laboratory. Indeed, if one looks at wind energy in shallow water (less than 30 meters) and more than 12 miles from the shore, an important consideration in limiting visual impacts, the figures are even more impressive, with the Carolinas alone holding more than half of East Coast resource. Adding Virginia and Georgia bumps that figure to over 82 percent. “This excellent wind resource, combined with outstanding port facilities in the region, should attract investment by utilities and the offshore wind industry,” said Nichols. Other Advantages
The Carolinas not only have an impressive energy resource, but may also have some distinct business advantages. “This is an industry where about 10 percent of the cost is materials and 90 percent is labor, and that represents a significant advantage for the lower-cost labor markets of the Southeast to attract manufacturing,” said Jen Banks of the N.C. Solar Center. That dynamic helps to explain why there are currently over three thousand people in the Carolinas already employed in the wind industry supply chain despite not having a single utility-scale wind farm operating in either of the two states.

While the Carolinas have already started to explore options for collaboration, the groups are also open to talking with neighboring states. “Regional solutions are ultimately what make sense for the United States offshore wind industry”, said Brian O’Hara, President of the NC Offshore Wind Coalition. Hamilton Davis of the SC Coastal Conservation League agrees. “This is a great first step in organizing the Southeastern states and working together towards some common goals.” wind_press_release_image.png# # # ABOUT THE SOUTHERN ALLIANCE FOR CLEAN ENERGY
The Southern Alliance for Clean Energy promotes responsible energy choices that create global warming solutions and ensure clean, safe and healthy communities throughout the Southeast. www.cleanenergy.org ABOUT THE NORTH CAROLINA SOLAR CENTER Created in 1988, the North Carolina Solar Center, as part of the College of Engineering at North Carolina State University (NCSU), works closely with state and local government and the renewable energy industry. It manages and maintains the NCSU Solar House and serves as a resource for innovative, green energy technologies through research and demonstration, technical assistance, education, outreach and training. It also administers the Database of Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency (DSIRE), a resource providing financial incentives and policies. For more information please visit: www.ncsc.ncsu.edu. ABOUT THE SOUTH CAROLINA COASTAL CONSERVATION LEAGUE The South Carolina Coastal Conservation League’s mission is to protect the natural environment of the South Carolina coastal plain and to enhance the quality of our life of our communities by working with individuals, businesses and government to ensure balanced solutions. ABOUT THE NORTH CAROLINA OFFSHORE WIND COALITION The North Carolina Offshore Wind Coalition is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting the responsible development of offshore wind energy in North Carolina through policy, education, and outreach efforts. The Coalition receives broad support from a variety of non-profits, economic development groups, and industry members. ABOUT THE SOUTH CAROLINA ENERGY OFFICE The South Carolina Energy Office (SCEO) provides a broad range of resources designed to help citizens, businesses and public entities save energy and money. In recent years, the SCEO has helped save South Carolina over $250 million through public and private energy-saving measures and new energy technologies. The SCEO is a unit of the South Carolina Budget and Control Board. Additional information can be found at www.energy.sc.gov. ABOUT THE CITY OF NORTH MYRTLE BEACH North Myrtle Beach serves as a demonstration city in building the local economy and developing energy independence using livable, sustainable principles through projects, plans, and policy. Sponsored by Partners for Livable Communities, the American Chambers of Commerce Executives, and the Institute for Sustainable Development, the City of North Myrtle Beach is recipient of the 2011 Green Plus Small Community of the Year Award for exceptional leadership in sustainable economic development and is recognized for their public-private partnerships to advance a sustainable economy. The City will host the second annual Southern Wind conference in December 2011. For more information please visit: http://www.nmb.us/ ABOUT THE NORTH CAROLINA SUSTAINABLE ENERGY ASSOCIATION Founded in 1978, the NC Sustainable Energy Association (NCSEA) is a 501(c)3 non-profit membership organization of individuals, businesses, government and non-profits working to ensure a sustainable future by promoting renewable energy and energy efficiency in North Carolina through education, public policy and economic development. NCSEA has been the “go-to” leader in shaping North Carolina’s commitment to renewable energy, energy efficiency, high performance building and smart grid jobs and economic opportunities in communities all across our state. Learn more at www.energync.org. ABOUT THE NORTH STRAND COASTAL WIND TEAM The vision of the North Strand Coastal Wind Team is to establish a community-based wind energy program and sustainable energy plan in the City of North Myrtle Beach in collaboration with the city and other strategic partners. The North Strand Coastal Wind Team will seek to develop wind energy resources for the City of North Myrtle Beach, to facilitate this initiative, and partner with other organizations. This is being be accomplished by: introducing the campaign to the community through educational programs and research; developing the economy to create a conducive environment for wind industry; acting as a liaison to attract wind energy businesses; representing North Myrtle Beach on the subject of offshore wind farms; and working to ensure maximum economic impact from wind energy development for the region. For more information please visit: www.northstrandcoastalwindteam.org. ABOUT THE CLEMSON UNIVERSITY RESTORATION INSTITUTE The Clemson University Restoration Institute was established in 2004 to drive economic growth by creating, developing and fostering restoration industries and environmentally sustainable technologies in South Carolina. Now, the Restoration Institute is attracting world-renowned faculty, students and staff dedicated to creating a knowledge-based, export-oriented industry cluster that will partner with other institutions and the private sector to position South Carolina as the premier home of restoration knowledge and expertise. ABOUT COASTAL CAROLINA UNIVERSITY Coastal Carolina University’s Burroughs and Chapin Center for Marine and Wetland Studies has been an active participant in exploring South Carolina offshore wind resource potential in collaboration with other state and regional partners. Center staff have served on the state’s Regulatory Task for on Clean Energy, the SC Climate, Energy and Commerce Advisory Committee and other wind and natural marine resource advisory panels and studies. The Center recently completed the “Palmetto Wind” study in concert with North Carolina State University deploying six ocean/atmospheric observational buoys for one-year to gather physical measurements of the cross-shore gradient in the coastal wind fields as well as waves and currents along two transects off the northern SC coast from the beach out to 12 miles. ABOUT THE SAVANNAH RIVER NATIONAL LABORATORY The Savannah River National Laboratory (SRNL) is the Department of Energy (DOE) – Office of Environmental Management’s national laboratory at the Savannah River Site (SRS). SRNL puts science to work to support DOE and the nation in the areas of environmental management, national and homeland security, and clean energy. The management and operating contractor for SRS and SRNL is Savannah River Nuclear Solutions, LLC. ABOUT SANTEE COOPER Santee Cooper is South Carolina’s state-owned electric and water utility, the state’s largest power producer and also its leader in renewable energy. The ultimate source of electricity for 2 million South Carolinians, Santee Cooper is dedicated to being the state’s leading resource for improving the quality of life for the people of South Carolina. For more information, visit www.santeecooper.com.