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South Carolina utilities, wind developers show no interest in offshore wind development

Dive Brief:

Dive Insight:

Deepwater Wind’s 30 MW, five turbine installation off Rhode Island’s Block Island will be the first operational U.S. offshore wind project. It began construction in the summer of 2015 and is expected online by 2017. Its output will be bought by National Grid at $0.244/kWh.

BOEM has approved leases off seven New England states’ coasts. Interest in wind development off the coasts of the Southeastern states has been limited because power prices in the region are below the national average while the costs of developing offshore wind are significantly higher than for developing natural gas, onshore wind, or utility-scale solar.

The four proposed lease areas off South Carolina’s coast total 1,135 square miles. Wildlife advocates raised concerns about wind’s impact on a nearby animal refuge, but development could create 3,800 jobs, a $3.6 billion economic benefit, and add over $600 million in revenue. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell has promised a thorough “collaborative effort to identify high potential/low conflict areas for development, supporting investment and jobs in South Carolina.”

Recommended Reading

The Post and Courier:
Offshore wind turbine decision could come soon