Tuesday, a Santee Cooper distribution crew installed an anemometer at the end of the Georgetown Fishing Pier, as part of its effort to research small-scale wind turbines.
The instrument was placed on a 30-foot fiberglass pole and mounted at the end of the pier. Engineers will now monitor the data for three to six months and if the wind is sufficient, Santee Cooper could install a 2-kilowatt wind turbine at that location.
Santee Cooper says this would be the first wind turbine installed in Santee Cooper's customer service territory and possibly the first in the state of South Carolina. It will have an Internet interface that will allow students and other interested residents to monitor real-time energy output from the turbine.
Santee Cooper has researched land-based wind speeds and determined they are not strong enough for industrial-scale wind turbines, which require wind speeds of at least 8 miles per hour to begin turning and don't generate at full capacity unless winds are moving at about 30 mph. The utility is looking for sites for small turbines that are capable of generating power from slower wind speeds - as slow as 5 mph.
In addition to the Georgetown Fishing Pier location, Santee Cooper plans to test winds at Morgan Park with an anemometer tower beginning in a few weeks and could install a second small turbine there.
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