New Report Shows Progress, Opportunities For Offshore Wind in SC

Guest Blog | July 10, 2014 | Press Releases


• Chris Carnevale, Southern Alliance for Clean Energy (843) 225-2371, [email protected]

• Ben Gregg, South Carolina Wildlife Federation (803) 256-0670, [email protected]

• Hamilton Davis, Coastal Conservation League (843) 810-4178, [email protected]

• David Carr, Southern Environmental Law Center (434) 977-4090, [email protected]

• Brian O’Hara, Southeastern Coastal Wind Coalition (252) 506-9463, [email protected]

• Miles Grant, National Wildlife Federation (617) 855-9486, [email protected]

New Report Shows Progress, Opportunities For Offshore Wind

Charleston, S.C. (July 10, 2014) – A new report out today by the National Wildlife Federation outlines the significant progress made in the American offshore wind industry in recent years, and calls for leadership to fully realize the industry’s potential.

The Atlantic coast’s offshore wind resource is enormous, and thanks to the leadership of local and state leaders and the support of the federal government, the development of offshore wind is close at hand. Projects in Massachusetts and Rhode Island are scheduled to begin construction within the next 18 months, while six other states have formally designated areas for offshore wind development. Other states, including South Carolina and North Carolina, are in the process of designating their wind energy areas but have not yet formalized where they will be. Put together, fully developing all of these wind energy areas could power millions of American homes.

“The Atlantic Ocean is a clean energy and job-producing goldmine,” said Catherine Bowes, senior manager for climate and energy at the National Wildlife Federation. “With areas offshore that can power 5 million homes currently available for leasing, it is a critical moment for state leaders to seize this golden opportunity and create a clean energy future powered by American workers that can protect our wildlife and communities from the dangers of climate change.”

The report details some of the many benefits that are offered by the development of offshore wind energy. The resource is located close to end users since population centers are numerous along the coast, which is particularly significant given the anticipated growth in both population and energy demand in years to come. Since wind energy has no fuel cost, it provides long-term price stability and studies have estimated hundreds of millions of dollars of annual future savings in states that may benefit from offshore wind farms. Savings may also be achieved by sending less money out of state for fuel imports, and because of the fact that offshore winds blow when we are using the most electricity, on hot summer afternoons.

Not only is offshore wind an ideal power source, but it is also a source of major economic growth. The offshore wind industry is creating massive investment opportunities and job growth around the globe. In Europe alone, 70 offshore wind projects support 58,000 jobs in both coastal and inland communities. Global projections estimate that $20 billion will be invested in the offshore wind industry every year for the next 10 years.

“Developing offshore wind here in the United States captures a share of a hot market. In particular, advancing offshore wind in South Carolina ensures that we don’t sit back idly while neighboring states reap the economic benefits,” said Ben Gregg, Executive Director of South Carolina Wildlife Federation.

State-level leadership and private industry investment have been the key drivers of the offshore wind industry’s success thus far. The common factors in states seeing early investment in the offshore wind industry are those whose state legislatures and governors have been the most proactive.

Chris Carnevale, Coastal Climate and Energy Coordinator for the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy said, “While we have made significant progress in preparing for offshore wind development in South Carolina, we need additional leadership from the Legislature and Governor Haley to advance policies such as cost recovery mechanisms, in order to drive investment into our state. We also need leadership at the federal level and call on our congressmen and senators in Washington D.C. to reduce the cumbersome tax burden on this promising industry by renewing the Production and Investment Tax Credits for wind energy.”

Hamilton Davis, Energy Director for the Coastal Conservation League said, “Just as the land-based wind industry has become an economic and clean energy engine for states across the country, so too will the offshore wind industry in the years to come. South Carolina is well positioned to be a leader in the offshore wind sector, but we must make smart policy decisions today if we are to achieve our potential.”

“South Carolina is well-positioned to secure clean, domestic energy from its offshore wind resource,” said David Carr, general counsel of the Southern Environmental Law Center. “However, in order to capture the jobs and clean energy benefits afforded by offshore wind in the near term, state leaders will have to prioritize and implement policies that enable offshore wind development. The offshore wind play will also help the state address the growing threat of sea-level rise by reducing the reliance on dirty energy sources that contribute to climate change.”

Brian O’Hara, President of the Southeastern Coastal Wind Coalition said, “With the lowest costs, great wind resource, and world-class port facilities, the Southeast can play a major role in the emerging U.S. offshore wind industry. But enabling our utilities and industry to fully explore these opportunities is going to take vision and action by state leaders.”

For more information on the report, visit


Southern Alliance for Clean Energy is a nonprofit organization that promotes responsible energy choices that create global warming solutions and ensure clean, safe, and healthy communities throughout the Southeast.

Founded in 1931, the mission of the South Carolina Wildlife Federation is to advocate for wildlife, habitat and the environment, educate citizens in the conservation ethic, and support outdoor traditions.

The Coastal Conservation League works to protect the natural environment of the South Carolina coastal plain and to enhance the quality of life in our communities by working with individuals, businesses and government to ensure balanced solutions.

The Southern Environmental Law Center is a regional nonprofit using the power of the law to protect the health and environment of the Southeast (Virginia, Tennessee, North and South Carolina, Georgia, and Alabama). Founded in 1986, SELC’s team of about 60 legal and policy experts represent more than 100 partner groups on issues of climate change and energy, air and water quality, forests, the coast and wetlands, transportation, and land use.

The Southeastern Coastal Wind Coalition works to advance the coastal and offshore wind industry with solutions that are beneficial to industry, beneficial to utilities, and result in net economic benefits to citizens and ratepayers in the Southeast.

The National Wildlife Federation is America’s largest conservation organization inspiring Americans to protect wildlife for our children’s future.