State lawmakers go on record supporting wind energy

Wind-generated power could soon be coming to an electrical outlet near you.

Wind energy now has the official support of the South Carolina legislature.

Lawmakers passed it at the urging of the North Myrtle Beach Chamber of Commerce.

The resolution is what the chamber's leader calls a "group hug on wind."

"What we wanted them, first of all, to do is agree. We do have huge potential offshore to generate wind energy and the competition is stiff on the East Coast," said chamber president Marc Jordan.

The resolution doesn't include tax breaks or any other wind energy incentive, but Jordan said it does put energy developers on notice that South Carolina wants to be in the wind energy game.

Eventually, that could lead developers to build offshore wind farms, producing a windfall of jobs for North Myrtle Beach in maintenance, maybe turbine manufacturing, and even tourism.

"You'll be having tours out to the wind farm. There'll be fishing around the base of the wind farm," Jordan said.

Wind energy supporters say the state's next step should be to pass legislation allowing wind power to mix in with other sources of energy production.

"Hopefully, what will happen is that as coal plants close down, we will bring on increments of wind energy off our coast," said Monroe Baldwin, head of the North Strand Wind Team.

The team is a group of organizations dedicated to promoting wind energy in South Carolina.

Jordan and other wind energy supporters say Little River has nearly the best potential wind resource on the East Coast, but other states are positioned ahead of South Carolina toward leasing offshore acreage.

He said the resolution was one step forward for the state in the race toward developing wind energy.