Offshore Wind Power Plant Slated for Georgia's Coast
Southern Company and the Georgia Institute of Technology announced on May 24th that they will collaborate on the Southeast's first offshore wind power project, to be located off the coast of Savannah, Georgia. Southern Company is an electric utility serving most of Georgia and Alabama, as well as southeastern Mississippi and the Florida panhandle. The wind project is expected to include three to five wind turbines with a total generating capacity of about 10 megawatts. The first step of the project, a design and conceptual engineering phase, will start in July using technical expertise from both Georgia Tech and Southern Company.
The project is a continuation of research conducted by Georgia Tech's Strategic Energy Initiative, a research group devoted to testing both the scientific and economic feasibility of innovative technologies. Although the Southeast in general lacks good wind resources, the Georgia Tech group found an offshore wind resource by analyzing six years of wind data collected from Navy platforms located off the Savannah coast. According to Southern Company, the strong westerly winds that blow along Georgia's coast make this offshore region the best site in the Southeast for a wind demonstration project. The company says the area is also ideal for offshore wind because of its extensive area of shallow water at distances beyond view from the shoreline. See the Southern Company press release.
Large wind power plants of all types will have an easier time connecting to power grids under new rules approved last week by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). The new interconnection requirements apply to wind power facilities larger than 20 megawatts, and most requirements will take effect in early 2006. According to FERC, the new rule removes unnecessary obstacles to further wind power development, while ensuring that electric reliability is protected. See the FERC press release.