State’s First Utility Wind Turbine installed in North Myrtle Beach

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Santee Cooper installs state’s first utility wind turbine
2.4-kw turbine joins Santee Cooper Green Power generating fleet

NORTH MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. – Santee Cooper installed its first wind turbine today, officially launching its Wind Education Project designed to demonstrate wind turbine technology, promote education and awareness about the viability of wind as a source for electricity in South Carolina, and invite feedback.

The Skystream 2.4-kilowatt turbine marks the first turbine added to the electric grid in South Carolina. The demonstration project will help further public awareness of, and knowledge about, wind power, and it joins solar and landfill biogas generation in Santee Cooper’s Green Power fleet.

“This event is not about how much energy we’re putting on the grid,” said Marc Tye, Santee Cooper vice president of conservation and renewable energy, at an event commemorating the turbine installation. “It’s a symbol of how far we’ve come, and of how far we still have to go in exploring wind energy.”

The Skystream turbine begins generating electricity when wind speeds reach 8 miles an hour and produces its full rated capacity when the wind blows at 29 mph. “This turbine is a landmark demonstration project for us in the area of wind energy, and one key take-away for us will be how often the turbine generates power, how often it generates at full strength, and how often it isn’t producing anything,” Tye said.

The turbine is equipped with a meter that shows real-time output and is connected to the Internet for easy tracking of the energy output over time. It can easily be adapted into classroom lessons about renewable energy, much as teachers use Santee Cooper’s Green Power Solar Schools program to track solar panel output at solar power stations the utility has placed around the state.

“We are proud to have this landmark project located within our city,” said North Myrtle Beach Mayor Marilyn Hatley. “Wind power holds significant promise for the future of our community and state. This new tool will provide much needed research and it will help to create interest in wind power, especially among young people.”

Several participants in the Southern Wind 2010 Conference, beginning today in North Myrtle Beach, were also on hand for the event. According to Mary Ann Christopher, chair of the three-day conference and leader of the national Offshore Wind Energy Team of Foley & Lardner LLP, “This event today not only launches the Santee Cooper Wind Education Project, but also a remarkable gathering here in North Myrtle Beach of wind industry leaders who are energized by the great potential for jobs, economic growth, energy independence, and clean energy in South Carolina and the entire southern coastal region that wind energy could represent.”

Santee Cooper is South Carolina’s leader in renewable energy and began generating Santee Cooper Green Power in 2001 with its first landfill gas generating station, located at the Horry County Landfill. The utility generates 22 megawatts of renewable Green Power today and will bring another 6 MWs online in the next few months.

Santee Cooper began researching the potential for wind energy in 2005. “Our research has shown that land-based wind isn’t strong enough to support utility-scale wind energy, and so even while we dedicate this turbine today we are continuing our research into the viability and affordability of offshore wind as a source of renewable energy,” Tye said.

Santee Cooper is South Carolina’s state-owned electric and water utility, and the state’s largest power producer. The ultimate source of electricity for 2 million South Carolinians, Santee Cooper is dedicated to being the state’s leading resource for improving the quality of life for the people of South Carolina. For more information, visit