NORTH MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - 'Going Green' is the name of the game in North Myrtle Beach this summer, as the city inches closer to installing more small-scale wind turbines along the oceanfront.
North Myrtle Beach Councilman Greg Duckworth says site plans are expected to be finalized later this week to install seven more turbines in the area. North Myrtle Beach installed its first turbine in 2010, which generates enough energy in winds over 8 mph to power a mid-sized refrigerator.
While Duckworth didn't expand on specific sites for the future turbines, he says more than $170,000 in grants from the state energy office are funding the effort.
"We - as in the Grand Strand - are being proactive and leading that [green] change," Duckworth said Tuesday.
He says while the new turbines won't be generating a large amount of energy, what it will provide is an important wind research tool and learning opportunity for area students, residents and visitors.
Duckworth says he expects research groups to analyze energy data generated by the new turbines and online programs to be developed for K-12 students.
Toni Reale, of the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, says the opportunity for success on the Grand Strand continue past clean energy and learning opportunities.
More than 125,000 parts go into building a wind turbine, and many of those are too large to manufacture in places that aren't near a turbine site. Reale says that factor could open up the door for green manufacturing opportunities along the coastal regions of South Carolina.
In addition to manufacturing, Reale says offshore wind turbines could also provide an eco friendly tourism option.
"In Europe, people take tour boats to go out and see the offshore wind turbines," she explained. "So there is that local tourist-economy that could evolve around wind turbines."
Buoy and wind studies have been completed off the shores of Little River and Georgetown, according to Santee Cooper representatives. However, before you'll see any offshore wind energy advances, officials must weed through permitting, transmission and placement issues.