Federal officials have taken the next step towards eventually allowing wind energy turbines to eventually be built off the South Carolina coast.
The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) on Wednesday formally issued a Call for Information and Nominations that seeks the offshore wind industry’s interest in buying commercial leases in four regions off the state’s coast.
“Today’s milestone marks another important step in the President’s strategy to tap clean, renewable energy from the Nation’s vast wind and solar resources,” Secretary Sally Jewell said in a statement. “We know South Carolina has important wind energy potential, and we will work with stakeholders through a collaborative effort to identify high potential/low conflict areas for development, supporting investment and jobs in South Carolina.”
The four locations are each located along the Outer Continental Shelf off the coastline between Charleston and the North Carolina. The four areas combine to cover more than 1,100 square miles. The two closest call areas are about 5 miles offshore, per BOEM charts.
Federal regulators have tried to encourage wind energy farms under President Obama’s administration. So far, BOEM has awarded nine commercial leases in the Atlantic with sites in Virginia being the furthest south to this point. Construction on the country’s first offshore wind farm began off Rhode Island in July.
BOEM’s call request was published in the Federal Register on Wednesday. The agency will accept public comments for 60 days.