South Carolina’s state-owned electric and water utility, Santee Cooper, contracted with Clemson University to produce turbine simulation photos showing what these large windmills would look like off of the SC coast. Santee Cooper spokesperson Mollie Gore explains: “Using actual photos taken from the coast line, and using Wind-Pro software that would basically plug in a series of wind turbines, simulated of course, that would give us an idea of how visible these turbines would be at various points off the shore,” says Gore.
A blade-like turbine is used to extract energy from water or air flow, converting it to work for electricity. Offshore wind farms would help create cleaner air and renewable electricity for the average South Carolina citizen. Gore explains the goal: “We’ve got a goal that we want to generate 40 percent of our electricity or energy by 2020 from non-greenhouse gas emitting resources, bio-mass fuels, energy efficiency. So, this is all part of that. The simulation photos, we want this to be an inclusive process. We’re committed to doing all we can to educate the public about offshore wind,” says Gore.
The purpose of the photos is to show residents what the turbines that would be implanted off the coast would look like.
“They used a software I think they use pretty routinely when you’re designing offshore wind farms and you’re up in other places where they have those. So, we took that and applied it so we have this visible image that really gives people an idea how far offshore the turbines can be and you can still see them, depending on the weather conditions,” says Gore.
No wind farms have yet been built, but Santee Cooper releasing these images shows the utility’s commitment to inform and involve the public in the process for cleaner energy.