- Associated Press - Thursday, October 30, 2014

CONWAY, S.C. (AP) - A new study and a proposed law are seen as the next steps in making offshore wind energy a reality in South Carolina.

The Sun News of Myrtle Beach reports (https://bit.ly/10B7vCl ) that Paul Gayes with the Center for Marine and Wetland Studies at Coastal Carolina University says the state will match a $750,000 federal grant to study which areas offshore are the most promising for wind farms.

The federal money comes from the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management.

Meanwhile, Republican Sen. Greg Hembree of North Myrtle Beach plans to reintroduce a bill allowing utilities who want to build demonstration wind projects to apply for rate increases to pay for them.

The bill died last session when a senator objected but Hembree says has worked to change that vote.

The studies could lead to large wind farms offshore, said Brian O’Hara, president of the Southeastern Coastal Wind Coalition.

“Looking long-term, I see tremendous business opportunities in renewable energy,” O’Hara said.

He said South Carolina is well-positioned to take advantage of the East Coast development of offshore wind energy.

The federal government has identified the area from Virginia to Georgia as the best for wind farm development on the East Coast. North and South Carolina have the top sites in the region, O’Hara said.

South Carolina has the lowest estimated offshore construction costs in the nation, he said.

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Information from: The Sun News, https://www.thesunnews.com/

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