MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) The city of Myrtle Beach is discussing a big move toward using more alternative energy. The city currently allows public utility companies like Santee Cooper to have solar panel farms like the one located along Mr. Joe White Avenue. The two proposals in the works would be the first time a private owner would collect energy from their own land and sell it within the city's limits.
The two proposals are in the hands of the Myrtle Beach planning department. One project calls for a solar panel farm near the old Air Force Base and Market Common area. The other is to install windmills, but the area has not been determined.
Myrtle Beach doesn't have regulations in place for private utilities and therefore, the city would have to create a new code to approve these projects. Before that can happen, the city's planning department will research the impact on the community.
As part of their research, the planning department will get feedback from Santee Cooper on alternative energy sites like the solar panel farm in Myrtle Beach and the wind turbines in North Myrtle Beach. They will also look into the potential economic impact of each proposed project.
According to Allison Hardin, a planner with the City of Myrtle Beach, the research phase will likely take a month to complete. The following is step is for the planning commission to make their recommendation to the city council.
Hardin says these projects could ultimately help create a more sustainable Myrtle Beach. "One of the goals of the comprehensive plan is to continue to work toward utilizing alternative energies to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels. Solar and Wind power is a big step of course, toward achieving that goal."