Is the future of N. Carolina's electric power blowing in the wind?

Five years from now, 210-foot-tall wind turbines could be spinning off South Carolina's coast, generating electric power.

That's the prediction from the S.C. Energy Office, which was recently awarded a $500,000, three-year grant from the U.S. Department of Energy to study the potential for generating wind energy off the coast. Clemson and Coastal Carolina universities and the Savannah River National Lab are also participating in the research.

"The purpose of this (grant) is to develop all the necessary regulations and get a better feel for what's available (in wind resources offshore)," said Erika Hartwig of the state energy office.


The state hopes to build an 80-megawatt wind farm of between 12 and 15 turbines about 3 miles offshore. On a clear day, the turbines would be faintly visible from the beach, Hartwig said.

One megawatt of wind power can produce enough electricity to serve 250 to 300 homes on average each day, according to the DOE.

The pilot project could serve between 20,000 and 24,000 homes.

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