Southeast Primed for Wind Energy Development

Guest Blog | March 8, 2012 | Press Releases

CHARLOTTE, NC – Approximately 300 people are attending the Southeastern Coastal Wind Conference to learn about and promote the Southeast’s wind energy potential. Leaders from governmental agencies, utilities, academic institutions, non-profit organizations and the wind industry have joined together to discuss the costs, benefits and policy options that will drive economic growth in the region.

“The Southeast is primed and ready for the wind industry,” said Brian O’Hara, conference co-chair and president of the North Carolina Offshore Wind Coalition. “The Southeast contains a low cost and highly capable supply chain for the wind industry; the largest offshore wind resource; and some of the largest and fastest growing electricity markets. The Southeast is truly the East Coast wind energy supply chain solution.”

”Virginia’s premier port facilities; superior accessibility by land and sea; and world class maritime workforce, military community, and educational facilities, make it ideal as the epicenter for offshore wind power for the U.S.,” said Peggy Farrell, environmental scientist at Ecology and Environment and conference organizing partner.

“North Carolina has the best shallow water offshore wind resource on the East Coast,” said Jen Banks, wind energy specialist at the NC State Solar Center and conference co-chair. “In addition to the best offshore wind resource, North Carolina boasts the lowest estimated offshore wind construction costs in the country, making it an ideal location for manufacturers and supply chain companies,” Banks said.

“South Carolina has an extensive wind field within 50 nautical miles of its coast line. The wind energy potential of our offshore areas is more than double the current electrical generating capacity of the entire state,” said Tom French, executive director of the South Carolina Clean Energy Business Alliance and conference organizing partner. “Clemson University Restoration Institute is also the future home to the most advanced turbine drive-train test facility in the country,” said French.

“Georgia is well positioned to support the growing wind industry supply chain,” said Mary Hallisey Hunt, director of special projects at the Georgia Institute of Technology Strategic Energy Institute and conference organizing partner. “Georgia’s combination of a well-educated workforce, the thriving Port of Savannah, strong rail and road connections, and Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport make it a perfect place for businesses looking to supply wind energy development in the Southeast,” said Hunt.

The Southeast is truly the East Coast wind energy supply chain solution and possesses the following assets for wind energy development:

• The most shallow water offshore wind energy potential on the east coast — North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, and Georgia combined have 63% of the total East Coast shallow water wind resource.
• Five out of six of the largest electricity markets on the East Coast are found in the Southeast.
• An impressive existing, low-cost supply chain infrastructure that has already attracted wind energy component manufacturers and wind energy development companies.

Full conference details including organizing partners, sponsors, agenda and speakers information can be found at # # #