More hyperbole from the alternative fuels crowd, this time with the complicity of the Greater Columbia Business Monthly.
The June issue features a story titled “Renewable Energy Initiatives Catch Wind in South Carolina” and opens with the following hard-to-swallow statement:
“Wind energy could help South Carolina create more than 11,000 new jobs and make a significant impact in the U.S.’s goal of producing more renewable energy domestically by becoming one of the first states with an offshore wind energy farm.”
And, the publication adds, “The dream is not far from reality.”
The story says that last October the US Department of Energy gave the SC Budget & Control Board a $500,000 wind energy grant. Some $200,000 of that is being used by researchers from Coastal Carolina University and NC State University to measure South Carolina’s wind energy production potential at different locations.
Of the remaining $300,000, $100,000 is funding a coastal clean energy transmission study led by Clemson and about $200,000 is being used to form the SC Coastal Clean Energy Regulatory Task Force, which allows the SC Energy Office to regulate 17 local, state and federal agencies involved in offshore clean energy projects, according to the publication.
As is common with these Utopian dreams, economic prosperity lies just around the corner:
“If the hopes of wind energy production proponents are realized in the state, its residents could not only see positive impacts on the environment and a contribution to the nation’s clean energy goals, but an improved economy,” according to the Greater Columbia Business Monthly. “According to a report by the Blue Green Alliance, South Carolina wind energy production could create more than 11,200 jobs.”
For the record, the Blue Green Alliance describes itself as “a national partnership of labor unions and environmental organizations dedicated to expanding the number and quality of jobs in the green economy.”
Labor unions and environmental organizations partnering to create green jobs – sorry, but that doesn’t exactly sound like a recipe for free market economic development.
There’s no explanation from the Greater Columbia Business Monthly about how these 11,000-plus jobs would be created, either. Simply taxing businesses and individuals to fund the construction and management of government-mandated offshore wind turbines isn’t the same as businesses hiring new workers because of legitimate demand.
Wind is among a handful of panaceas being touted by the government and green advocates as an alternative to fossil fuels. However, there are a few facts that wind proponents are downplaying:
- According to The Chicago Tribune, wind currently produces only about 1 percent of the United States’ electricity today, so it would take an immense uptick in development to make any sort of significant impact in terms of helping meet our nation’s energy needs;
- Offshore wind turbines aren’t cheap. Their foundations are much more costly than those built on land and must be designed to handle both wind forces and wave forces. In addition, there’s a need for undersea cabling, integration, etc. In Europe, countries pay significantly more for power from offshore wind than onshore; and
- There are also issues related to the environment, shipping, fishing, coastal scenery and even seabed ownership to be considered.
And despite the delusions of economic and environmental grandeur evident in its offshore wind aspirations, the federal government apparently isn’t expecting the public to buy into its alternative energy ruse.
Earlier this month, the SC Energy Office announced it had received a $109,000 grant from the federal government “to help generate market acceptance for offshore wind energy development in South Carolina and Georgia.”
“State and federal officials believe that a concerted, multi-faceted effort from various statewide stakeholders will be necessary to obtain public support for offshore wind energy development along the coasts of South Carolina and Georgia,” according to a SC Energy Office press release.