APRIL 6, 2010 NORTH MYRTLE BEACH, SC — As the public entered city hall on Monday, a display of the small wind turbine to be installed on top of the Avista Resort welcomed them. Monroe Baldwin and Councilman Greg Duckworth along with Richard Kline of the Beach Wind Energy Group were out in front of the display to explain the concept and advantages to the community.Driven by the North Myrtle Beach Chamber of Commerce and Monroe Baldwin, Chair of the Chamber’s Economic Development Committee, electricity from small wind turbines in North Myrtle Beach is close to becoming reality. All required to make it a reality was the final approval by Council of an ordinance – which later on, passed unanimously – and Avista moving forward on using the technology.Kline emphasized, “[Beach Wind Energy Group] is the major distributor of this turbine. We build half in South Carolina at St. Matthews the rest is manufactured in Canada. We have installed hundreds, mainly in Canada.” He indicated that they were working with Best Buy to deploy turbines at their major distribution centers.Eden Prairie News reported in 2009 that the Eden Prairie Planning Commission had approved a Best Buy application. The News also reported that along with being the first in Eden Prairie, the Best Buy turbine would be the first for the chain.The Eden Prairie turbine will be atop a 50-foot pole while the Avista turbine will be placed upon a five-foot stand.“What we are doing differently here is we are linking technical community colleges to beach communities where there is wind. Orangeburg-Calhoug Technical College [near Columbia] has a turbine lab. They will have a duplicate at the college and this one [at the Avista] will be remotely monitored by them,” continued Kline.Baldwin added that Orangeburg Technical College will be monitoring all varieties of turbines placed in North Myrtle Beach, collect the data and comparatively rate them. He sees turbine manufactures coming to the community to use that data to continually improve their products.According to Kline, what is known as green scholar grants from the state and the National Science Foundation will help fund jobs at the technical college for the research and educate students to enter the workforce knowledgeable in, not only, wind energy but solar and other renewable energy systems.The American Wind Energy Association web site references Federal regulations (specifically, the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act of 1978, or PURPA) that require utilities to connect with and purchase power from small (less than 80 MW) wind energy systems.Helping move the project along is also the Federal Government Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (also known as the stimulus program). Under this act, taxpayers can claim a tax credit of 30% from such installations through 2016. Funding for workforce training is also included in the act. The limited time for the tax credit is hastening the development and installation of small wind turbines.Baldwin said, “One of the more complicated aspects of these types of application is determining the optimum location for the turbine. Coastal Carolina University heads the effort to collect data at a potential location. The Savannah River National Laboratory turns this data into projections of generation probabilities.”While Kline was in, he, Baldwin and members of the North Strand Coastal Wind Team toured North Myrtle Beach’s ocean front parks. Baldwin envisions wind turbines atop the concrete restrooms, generating electricity to power adjacent streetlights, recharge golf carts and eventually electric cars.
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