North Myrtle Beach wind energy advocate says North Charleston facility boosts …

November 18, 2013 by  
Filed under Green Energy News

North Myrtle Beach has worked to position itself over the years as a leader in the development of wind energy and advocates say a new testing facility in North Charleston only helps to advance the cause.

Councilman Greg Duckworth, who is part of the North Strand Coastal Wind Team said he felt the dedication of Clemson’s University’s new $110 million Energy Systems Innovation Center in North Charleston this week is a way to continue to bolster the region’s contributions to wind energy.

“We have a big tent atmosphere that we’re trying to develop,” he said. “We’re all in this together so we’re all trying to make this successful. … Here were are on the Grand Strand making contributions in science to the nation. And that’s exciting.”

Besides committing to cable ducts to be run in stormwater pipes, the officials have said it wants North Myrtle Beach to be a demonstration city for evaluating the potential of wind energy and has put small, land-based wind turbines in Cherry Grove and along Ocean Drive near Main Street.

“The efforts trying to be made – some are coming out of North Myrtle Beach, but it’s really a regional, and even a statewide effort, to diversify the economy in our state, especially along the coast,” Duckworth said. “I see some headway being made in that.”

Duckworth said the Grand Strand’s position puts the area at the epicenter of off-shore wind development in the region, citing research that found the northern part of the South Carolina coast gets better wind than other areas.

Duckworth said the innovation center, which will test wind turbines as well as the ability to integrate them into the electric grid, gives the state an opportunity to diversify the economy.

“These wind turbines are so huge that they’re not easy to [transport],” he said, adding that the size of the turbines could lead to manufacturing opportunities if companies choose to move their business to be closest to the North Charleston testing facilities that is capable of testing the larger units. “They could be built here, tested here and, ultimately, installed here.”

Coastal Carolina University christened new $1.2 million research vessel, the Coastal Explorer, on Friday, with officials saying it would expand the school’s research initiatives and could potentially be used to do surveying work for offshore wind farms.

In May, the S.C. General Assembly introduced a resolution that would have put North Myrtle Beach at the forefront for receiving benefits from any early wind energy development in the waters east of South Carolina. The bill did not make it out of committee, according to online records of the state Legislature.

The bill’s sponsor, Sen. Greg Hembree, R-Little River, said at the time he was concerned there would not be enough time left in last session to pass the resolution.

Marc Jordan, CEO of the North Myrtle Beach Chamber of Commerce and a member of the S.C. Task Force for the U.S. Bureau of Energy Management said in June that the passage of the bill would hopefully get state legislators to begin to think about the wind power potential in South Carolina and to look at how North Myrtle Beach is ready to help the state exploit it.

“It’s one more step in positioning our community as a leader in wind energy,” he said.

Contact MAYA T. PRABHU at 444-1722 or follow her at

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