NORTH CHARLESTON — The Southeast coast has potential for offshore wind energy but the industry faces challenges, including a regulatory environment that offers little incentive for developing such power, attendees at the Southeastern Coastal Wind Conference were told Wednesday.
Speakers also said there needs to be more research on offshore conditions to determine the best kind of turbines that will hold up to the winds and waves of tropical storms and hurricanes.
“Offshore wind in the Southeast is an enormous opportunity,” said Brian O’Hara, president of the Southeastern Coastal Wind Coalition which is sponsoring the day-and-a-half conference.
The coalition is a consortium of manufacturers, researchers and government agencies working to promote wind development from Virginia to Florida. The group says about 60 percent of the potential offshore wind resources that can be tapped on the East Coast are between Virginia and Georgia.
“I would say the Southeast got a little later start in looking at offshore compared to the rest of the East Coast, but it’s quickly catching up,” he said. “We have a different approach down here with a regulated utility market.”