The Budget and Control Board's South Carolina Energy Office (SCEO) has awarded a $200,000 grant to Coastal Carolina University to study offshore wind power potential in South Carolina. That money is from a larger, $500,000 wind energy grant recently awarded to the SCEO by the U.S. Department of Energy.
Using grant resources, Coastal Carolina University and North Carolina State University partners will collect data using an observation network along the South Carolina coast that measures wind, wave and tide resources. The data will be acquired using several ocean/atmospheric monitoring stations off the coast to identify optimal sites for wind energy structures based on overall energy potential and projected grid connection and foundation costs, as well as environmental and aesthetic impacts. Coastal Carolina University plans to investigate areas along the South Carolina coast, stretching from the North Carolina border to the Winyah Bay area in Georgetown County.
"These are exciting times for South Carolina," said SCEO Director John Clark. "Offshore wind is our greatest potential source for generation of large amounts of electricity from clean, green, renewable resources. Offshore wind energy farms are well-established energy sources in Europe, and several states in the United States have already started ambitious wind energy projects. This collaboration with Coastal Carolina and other partners gives South Carolina an opportunity to become a major player in the economic and environmental benefits of this power source of the future."
The South Carolina Energy Office, along with its partners from Santee Cooper, Clemson University, Coastal Carolina University and North Carolina State University, will use federal grant monies to overcome various existing barriers for coastal clean energy development for wind, wave and tidal energy projects. The three-year grant will also be used to understand how coastal clean energy can be effectively transmitted to users, obtain data for a pilot offshore wind project in state waters, and form the South Carolina Coastal Clean Energy Task Force to recommend a regulatory environment conducive to coastal clean energy development.