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Offshore wind turbines.

Offshore Mapping and Analysis for Offshore Wind Energy Development

Offshore wind resources in the U.S. Atlantic are abundant, stronger, and more consistent than land-based wind resources, and the wind resource found off the coasts of southern North Carolina and northern South Carolina show high potential.

In 2014, officials from the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) Office of Renewable Energy Program contacted the S.C. Energy Office to begin discussions about providing funding to initiate a mapping and analysis program in the northern portion of the state’s coastal ocean. The S.C. Energy Office asked the Consortium to work with its member institutions and others to coordinate the preparation and submission of a formal proposal to BOEM to begin this work.

The Consortium was solicited and assembled a formal proposal, titled “Atlantic Offshore Wind Energy Development: Geophysical Mapping and Identification of Paleolandscapes and Historic Shipwrecks Offshore South Carolina,” to BOEM within a 30-day period, which was funded in November 2014 for $750,000. More than $780,000 was provided as match.

The overall objectives of the project were to: 1) Initiate a systematic geophysical survey of two areas offshore of South Carolina that have high probability of being initially developed for wind power generation; 2) Conduct detailed surveys to assess geoarchaeological potential of prehistoric habitation at select sites and to provide baseline information concerning the potential to identify prehistoric and relict landforms, historic shipwrecks and objects, and hazardous munitions and explosives of concern lying in the S.C. Outer Continental Shelf; and 3) Conduct a detailed geophysical survey connecting the proposed survey area and a similarly extensive geophysical survey completed through a partnership with the USGS from 0-5 miles offshore.

Partners in the project include the BOEM Office of Renewable Energy Program, S.C. Energy Office, Coastal Carolina University, University of South Carolina, College of Charleston, South Carolina Regulatory Task Force on Clean Coastal Energy, and the BOEM-South Carolina Offshore Renewable Energy Task Force.

The project concluded in 2018.