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By Matt Tomsic
Charleston Regional Business Journal
October 4, 2012
A wind farm off the coast of South Carolina could create thousands of jobs and inject $3.7 billion into the state during its 10-year construction phase, according to a study released today by Clemson University.
The university’s Restoration Institute and the Strom Thurmond Institute of Government and Public Affairs performed the study, which examined the impact of installing and operating a 1,000 megawatt wind farm off the coast and estimated the economic impact of the state’s current wind energy supply chain.
Read the full study online. The study expects installing the offshore wind farm will take 10 years and will create 3,300 jobs each year, $163.1 million in wages each year and will inject $270.7 million into the economy each year. Maintaining the wind farm is expected to create 678 jobs each year for the four years after it’s installed and $41.8 million in wages. The study estimates the wind farm will pump $115.2 million into the state each year.
“Not only would an offshore wind industry help diversify South Carolina’s energy sources, it also would have the potential to generate thousands of long-term jobs and create a sustainable industry that could become the envy of the nation,” said Ashlie Lancaster, director of the S.C. Energy Office.
The study also found 1,134 direct jobs were in wind energy in the state this year. Those jobs included production and service. The state’s wind energy supply chain had an economic impact of $530 million in 2012 and generated a net impact of $29 million for state government and $21 million for local government.
In North Charleston, the university’s Restoration Institute is developing a wind turbine testing facility, which will be able to test drivetrains up to 15 megawatts. There, the university is also developing a power grid simulator and the Zucker Family Graduate Education Center, which will offer advanced engineering degrees.