South Carolina is taking a step closer to developing wind energy along the coast. South Carolina has the second largest offshore wind energy in shallow water on the Atlantic Coast, with the potential of 134 gigawatts.
Now researchers led by Ralph Nichols of the Savannah River National Laboratory have a $700,000 Department of Energy grant to measure and predict the forces on offshore wind turbines that will result from breaking waves.
Specifically, they will look at waves created by cyclones and hurricanes on the East Coast and how that may affect turbine tower design.
Nichols says this is a somewhat new area for offshore wind energy because of South Carolina’s shallow shoreline that takes the brunt of waves at cyclone or hurricane force.
Another study shows that the energy transmission grid along the coast can take early input from offshore wind farms without major upgrades.
“So we are ready to take the energy source if it’s built, so that’s an encouraging thing,” Nichols says.
SRNL will also be helped in the three-year project by Coastal Carolina University.