Georgetown County will be the site of the third wind-power test site along the state’s coast, aimed at showing whether it is feasible to make electricity from wind.
The announcement was part of an update Thursday on research conducted by Coastal Carolina University’s Burroughs and Chapin Center for Marine and Wetland Studies, Santee Cooper and Clemson University.
The wind-power test location will be built at Hobcaw Barony in cooperation with the Belle W. Baruch Institute and Clemson’s Restoration Institute.
Santee Cooper, the state-owned utility that serves most of Horry and Georgetown counties either directly or indirectly, is already participating in a wind-power study with CCU at the college’s research station on Waties Island. The utility has another wind-power site in Charleston.
“Wind energy represents a new frontier for us,” said Lonnie Carter, president and chief executive of Santee Cooper. The utility is the only one in the state working on wind power, he said.
So far the results look hopeful, Carter said.
The utility has been promoting renewable energy for years, beginning with its green power project making electricity from methane gas in the landfill in Horry County, he said.
Santee Cooper will soon install a methane gas plant in Georgetown County’s landfill, Carter said.
Last week, Santee Cooper became the first in the state to start paying customers for making their own electricity with solar panels or similar devices.
Those are all alternative power sources that must be developed “to meet the increasing energy demands of this growing area of ours,” Carter said, and they are as important to the utility as building new power plants. But new power plants, such as the one proposed in Florence County, are also necessary, Carter said.
Paul Gayes, director of the marine and wetland study center, said the update was intended “to shine the light more on Waties Island,” and the range of research taking place there.
CCU’s center on the island is being used more frequently for outreach programs to school children, and visited more by researchers from landlocked colleges, Gayes said.
With the wind-power study, “we’re at the front edge of this,” said Gayes, who also has done groundbreaking work on the shoreline and what is just under the water offshore.
“The Waties Island facility will be a crucial asset” in solving environmental problems that face the growing coastal area, said Jarrett Lark, chairman of the marine and wetland center’s board.
By Zane Wilson
The Sun News
12 October 2007
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