Offshore wind power on the Atlantic coast experienced another gust of positive news. As projects are being considered in states such as Delaware, Massachusetts and Rhode Island, a recent study adds Georgia to the list of locales with great potential for development.
Atlanta-based power developer Southern Co. teamed up with the Georgia Institute of Technology on a two-year study of the state’s offshore wind power conditions. The study, released in June, identified several factors favorable for the generation of electricity.
The researchers found ample justification for the company to continue pursuing development there, after studying wind resources, technology, siting, environment, weather conditions, permitting and economics related to several sites in Georgia’s coastal waters.
Offshore wind speeds were clocked at about 16–17 mph, which exceeds the 14 mph minimum required by current wind power generating technology. Water in the area also is relatively shallow, which is conducive to establishing the foundations of a wind farm. Lastly, existing electrical substations on Jekyll and Tybee Islands provide potential connection points for transmitting offshore-generated electricity to the grid.
However, development in coastal waters would encounter some difficulties. Chief among them would be price. The stations would have to be located at least five miles offshore to capitalize on the higher wind speeds there and to minimize the impact on views from the coast. This would require additional case-hardened cabling, which would drive up costs. EC