South Carolina To Study Offshore Wind Potential

Officials with Santee Cooper, Coastal Carolina University and the South Carolina Energy Office confirmed that the utility has launched a series of weather buoys that will measure wind off the coast of Georgetown and Little River, South Carolina.

Six buoys and two land-based stations will measure wind speed, direction and frequency at stations up to six miles out into the ocean. One string of buoys begins at Georgetown, near an ongoing wind study at Winyah Bay. The second string begins at Waties Island, by Little River and near another ongoing wind study. Buoy deployment could happen by the end of this month, depending on weather conditions.

The buoy deployment will be followed by Santee Cooper’s installation of an offshore platform in about six months, near one of the buoy paths. The offshore wind platform is expected to gather data for at least a year.

Costs associated with the buoy project are being paid by Santee Cooper and by a U.S. Department of Energy grant administered by the South Carolina Energy Office. Specifically, the grant money is helping fund Coastal Carolina’s role in the buoy research. Santee Cooper will pay for the research platform.

“Santee Cooper believes that all reasonable renewable energy initiatives must be explored, and wind energy is a promising opportunity for South Carolina,” said Lonnie Carter, Santee Cooper president and chief executive officer. “As a public power company, Santee Cooper is committed to providing South Carolinians with affordable, reliable energy that is protective of our environment. We have been testing wind viability onshore for several years, and the experience has encouraged us to take this next important step.

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