South Carolina Legislature Gives Two Thumbs Up To Wind Energy

Last week, the South Carolina Legislature passed a resolution in support of wind energy in the Palmetto State.  Senator Greg Hembree (R-Dillon and Horry Counties) introduced S 757,  a concurrent resolution “to recognize the wind energy capabilities of South Carolina,” among other accolades for the state. Both the Senate and the House passed the resolution to recognize wind energy as a significant source of clean power and economic development for our state, as well as to invite offshore wind energy developers and manufacturers to meet with South Carolina public officials to further South Carolina’s advancement in offshore wind energy.

The passage of this resolution is another big step toward realizing the huge benefits of wind energy in South Carolina. Our state has the second greatest offshore wind resource on the east coast, with enough wind to generate more power than we use in a year.  South Carolina already benefits from the country’s developing offshore wind industry. If we were to develop offshore wind in the Palmetto State, we would support our already existing wind energy businesses in SC, create additional high-paying jobs, and make an important investment in long-term energy security and environmental stewardship.

We applaud the South Carolina Legislature and hope that citizens, industry, and federal officials take note of this leadership and join in advancing wind energy. This is now the fourth such statement in support of wind power that has been passed in South Carolina, following the efforts of North Myrtle Beach, Charleston, and North Charleston.

 

A CONCURRENT RESOLUTION

TO RECOGNIZE THE WIND ENERGY CAPABILITIES OF SOUTH CAROLINA AS PART OF A MULTI-SOURCE ENERGY STRATEGY AND HONOR THE PARTNERSHIP OF LOCAL GOVERNMENTS, ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT GROUPS, AND THE PRIVATE SECTOR IN THE PURSUIT OF A CLEAN ENERGY SOURCE COMPONENT TO THIS OVERALL STRATEGY FOR THE FUTURE.

Whereas, South Carolina is well suited to meet the workforce and infrastructure needs related to offshore wind energy development along the East Coast and such development would create long term, well paying jobs for the community; and

Whereas, the thirty-three wind energy manufacturing facilities currently operating in South Carolina employ over 1,100 people, generate $530 million of output annually in the State of South Carolina, and support 1,797 indirect and induced jobs statewide; and

Whereas, the wind industry commons of South Carolina is in a position to cultivate a Wind Energy Economic Cluster within the State; and

Whereas, the Clemson University Restoration Institute’s “Wind Energy Supply Chain Survey and Offshore Wind Economic Impact Study” determined that the installation of a 1000 megawatt wind farm will have a vast economic impact on the State, particularly in the ten-year construction phase; and

Whereas, Clemson University’s Wind Turbine Drivetrain Testing Facility in North Charleston is one of a kind and the largest in the world and is well positioned to serve a central role in the further development of a wind energy industry hub for South Carolina, attracting manufacturers; and

Whereas, General Electric operates one of the largest wind turbine manufacturing facilities in the United States in the upstate; and

Whereas, the City of North Myrtle Beach is a Wind Empowered Economic Zone that can bring electric cables ashore in parallel to its deepwater outfall pipes negating any environmental impact while bringing a cable system ashore; and

Whereas, South Carolina’s offshore wind resource is the second largest of the east coast states and represents a long term economic investment opportunity, as well as a long term opportunity for in-state energy production; and

Whereas, offshore wind energy is a domestic source of energy shielded from hostile foreign interests; and

Whereas, the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, Marine Resources Division, currently maintains over forty-five artificial reef areas; and

Whereas, wind turbine foundations create a significant and proven artificial reef effect; and

Whereas, current artificial reef systems contribute a significant economic impact to coastal regions through the sport and business of marine recreation; and

Whereas, over 82% of Marine recreationalists support offshore wind development according to the 2011 survey of marine recreationists’ attitudes toward potential offshore wind energy in South Carolina performed by Clemson University’s Department of Parks, Recreation, and Tourism Management; and

Whereas, supportive local policies and public opinion aid in advancing the benefits associated with offshore wind energy development. Now, therefore,

Be it resolved by the Senate, the House of Representatives concurring:

That the members of the South Carolina General Assembly, by this resolution, recognize the wind energy capabilities of South Carolina as part of a multi-source energy strategy and honor the partnership of local governments, economic development groups, and the private sector in the pursuit of a clean energy source component to this overall strategy for the future.

Further, that South Carolina invites offshore wind energy developers and manufacturers to meet with South Carolina public officials to further South Carolina’s advancement in offshore wind energy.

Further, the General Assembly encourages offshore wind energy developers and manufacturers to utilize the local work force and human resources of South Carolina to plan, site, construct, and operate future projects.

Further, that the State of South Carolina will encourage and require any wind farm system installation that brings cables onto its shore to include marine habitat considerations, full and unfettered at your own risk access to all Marine recreationalists, including commercial charter boats for fishing, diving, ecotourism, and other recreational pursuits, and to make available subleases for the purpose of aquaculture development.

Further, that the State of South Carolina will encourage the development of advanced marine habitat turbine foundation designs, design a plan to require a mooring ball system to eliminate anchor use, and incorporate a plan for wind farm artificial reef enhancement and management within the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, Marine Resources Division.

Be it further resolved that a copy of this resolution be forwarded to the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, Marine Resources Division, Clemson University Restoration Institute, and the City of North Myrtle Beach.

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