Coastal South Carolina has long been recognized by locals and tourists alike for its warm waters, dazzling natural landscapes and prime seafood cuisine. But lately, communities up and down the shoreline have been making a name for themselves in another way: They’re leading the historically conservative state in a shift toward support for alternative energy and away from fossil fuel energy development.
Right now, there’s not a spark of electricity generated from wind in nine states across the Southeast from Arkansas to Florida, according to data from the American Wind Energy Association. But taller towers and bigger turbines are unlocking new potential in the South, according to the U.S. Department of Energy, and the industry is already looking to invest. And with the electricity system in the region undergoing a period of change as coal plants are phased out, some experts believe the door is open for renewables like wind.
Charlotte-based Duke Energy reached an agreement with several South Carolina environmental and business groups Tuesday that could result in increased solar energy use for residents. The agreement is intended to augment Duke Energy’s Distributed Energy Resource programs, which were filed with the South Carolina Public Service Commission in February and are designed to grow solar capacity in Duke’s South Carolina service area from about 2 to 110 megawatts. Included in the agreement are several programs that will provide incentives for solar energy use.