Wind turbines could be in the Grand Strand's future

Tuesday evening an offshore wind energy panel held an open discussion about the future for wind turbines off the Grand Strand's coast.

The panel discussed the future for the Grand Strand and offshore wind energy turbines.

"They see an opportunity for not just North Myrtle Beach, but the entire region to insert ourselves into the equation as far as emerging wind energy in South Carolina," said North Myrtle Beach councilman Greg Duckworth.

Our stretch of the beach is best suited for wind energy, added Dr. Paul Gayes with Coastal Carolina University.

"This particular area's the sweet spot in the southeast in terms of demand like the Grand Strand for power," said Gayes.

South Carolina uses as much energy as the entire state of New Jersey, which has twice as many people as our state.

The wind turbines would help our area keep up the growing need for energy.

The question becomes will the windmills ruin the aesthetic of our beaches?

"I would be the first to say no if it were something that was going to be highly visible, I would not be in support of it," said Duckworth.

Concrete plans for the windmills are still a few years out. The panel did note that South Carolina has very shallow waters, which makes it easier to build the turbines.

The turbines could be placed as far as 12 miles offshore.