Carolina schools receive $1.5 million wind energy study grants

Updated: Aug. 4, 2015 at 12:56 PM EDT
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CONWAY, SC (WMBF) - South Carolina schools which include Coastal Carolina, have received a  $1.5 million in federal and state grant money to work on wind energy studies, and long-term student research off the SC coast.

Coastal Carolina University's School of Coastal and Marine System Science (CMSS) team is sending it's meteorological and oceanographic instrumentation buoy to support long-term student research at the MaManus Reef off North Myrtle Beach.

The buoy system will be part of wider experiments that will continue the school's work on evaluating the potential for wind energy development off South Carolina's coast.

Staff, students and faculty of CMSS, deployed the instrument system to feed near real-time measurements that will support wind energy studies for validation of CCU's interactive couple ocean/wave/atmospheric modeling system. Additionally, the instrument will feed into the National Weather Service's weather modeling system.

The reef where the CCU buoy was deployed, is named after a longtime community leader in North Myrtle Beach, known as Ron McManus.

Coastal Carolina, the University of South Carolina, and the South Carolina Institute of Archaeology and Anthropolgy received $1.5 million in federal and state grant money to use the school's geophysical mapping system to characterize what wind developers should avoid or embrace off the coast.

Director of the school and lead technical investigator Paul Gayes, said the project will continue to use geophysical mapping of certain portions of the ocean floor to help determine what wildlife habitats and cultural resources are just off the coast.

CCU's 54-foot aluminum research vessl known as " The Coastal Explorer", is assisting in the deployment of the buoys and help with the transffering of extra staff to help with the complex operation.

The recently deployed buoy will have data posted to the school's website soon.

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