States must team up to develop wind energy potential in the Atlantic seaboard, according to representatives from Virginia, the Carolinas, Georgia and Florida who have been meeting in North Charleston for the past two days.
The Southeastern Coastal Wind Conference combines regional interests to grow the wind energy industry. Manufacturers, researchers and businesses are trying to spur awareness in the region and to decide if the future lies in offshore or mainland wind farms.
Brian O’Hara is the president of the Southeast Coast Wind Coalition, which is banking on the reports showing about 60 percent of the potential offshore wind resources that can be tapped on the East Coast are between Virginia and Georgia.
O’Hara said that individual states in the Northeast U.S. have tried to come up with wind energy plans. He told the South Carolina Radio Network, “No one state is big enough to house this industry. It will take collaboration among states to make it happen…at the cost and scale it needs to happen”.
North Charleston will soon be home to a world-class wind turbine testing lab, while General Electric in Greenville produces drive trains for large wind turbines.
But it is still a lesser known resource, said Ron Carey, director of the Regional Dynamics and Economic Modeling Lab at Clemson University’s Strom Thurmond Institute.
“I think it’s something new to a lot of people particularly in our part of the world” said Carey. But he expects more will pay attention when they learn of the economic impacts of wind power.
“Lots of jobs, thousands of jobs,” Carey said.