NMB Online – Congressional Visits

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“Staffs of both Congressman Henry Brown and Senator Lindsey Graham were supportive of our efforts to use our wind resources to generate energy,” said Mayor Marilyn Hatley.  They also visited with the staff of Rep. J. Gresham Barrett.
Hatley’s comments came after she, Councilman Greg Duckworth and Monroe Baldwin, chair of the NMB Chambers’ Economic Development Committee visited Washington, D.C. this past Wednesday to generate support for small wind energy development funding.
The visit was to drum up support for a $400 to $500 thousand federal grant.  Complicating their efforts is the recent House Republican ban on earmarks and Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) refusing to submit earmark requests.  Sen. Lindsey Graham is the only SC legislator left with constituents in the area to assist the effort.
Duckworth said, “We were up there really to sell an economic development program based on small wind energy systems.” He emphasized the North Strand has a sustainable, renewable and green resource that can serve as the basis for a new economic infrastructure in this area.
On the North Myrtle Beach City Council’s Monday agenda was the first reading of an ordinance that would establish the permission and parameters for small wind energy systems.  Duckworth sees this as a fundamental step in establishing North Myrtle Beach as a demonstration city for small wind energy in building the local economy and developing energy independence.
The North Myrtle Beach Chamber of Commerce along with the City of North Myrtle Beach established a North Strand Coastal Wind Energy Initiative, a collaborative effort to establish a community-based wind energy program in the City. This collaborative effort is a loose federation of the North Myrtle Beach Chamber, the City of North Myrtle Beach, Coastal Carolina University, The Savannah River National Laboratory, the Myrtle Beach Regional Economic Development Authority and the SC Energy Office. These groups form the North Strand Coastal Wind Team (NSCWT). For the past few months, this group has gathered data from sensors located along North Myrtle Beach’s coast to analyze basic assumptions about wind potency and reliability.
The NSCWT expects this multi-faceted program to provide jobs, opportunities for startup turbine companies, economic expansion, and a chance to diversify a local tourist economy. Moreover, it will demonstrate that harnessing the wind is feasible along the South Carolina coastline.
Duckworth said, “I see North Myrtle Beach as setting a stage upon which entrepreneurs can bring in their products to experiment and create a business around their products.”  He sees the city attracting these experimenters by having the ordinances and scientific support with the NSCWT already in place.  “Eventually,” Duckworth said, “I see things like North Myrtle Beach being the location where those interested in this technology would come from all over the world to a Small Wind Technology Expo, to learn and to purchase products developed locally.”
The team is striving to have a demonstration project in place this spring.
This was the message Mayor Hatley, Councilman Duckworth and Baldwin took to Washington, D.C.
It is not too late to show your support.  Go to ‘North Strand Coast Wind Teams needs your support’ and send the suggested comments to Sen. Graham and Rep. Brown.