Jeykll and Tybee of Wind

Timlynn Babitsky | Case studies,Issues: Strategies & Tactics | Thursday, July 10th, 2008

by Timlynn Babitsky
Despite the 8-year hoo-hah over Cape Cod’s off shore wind farm, a 50% jump in off-shore construction costs in the last three years, and the failure of Congress to renew tax credits for wind power, Georgia is looking out to sea for more than the fishing and swimming.

Southern Co., which owns Georgia Power, prefers coal and nuclear power. But with approval from the US Department of the Interior the utility will move forward with leasing three plots off Tybee Island to further test the feasibility of a wind farm. But a sea of regulatory and environmental issues, federal permits and lack of tax credits may scuttle the Georgia off-shore wind farm project before it sails too far.

Even though Georgia Tech researchers recently completed a study of wind energy off the Tybee and Jekyll islands, the Southern Co., wind study alone is expected to cost $3 million and take nearly three years to complete. Southern Co., spokesperson Liz Philpot notes that a pilot project wouldn’t even get started for at least five years.

For wind activists throughout the US, the Georgia Jekyll and Tybee islands off-shore wind project should be on our watch lists.

Is Southern Co., dragging their feet on wind power or really being swamped by the enormity of regulations they say are circling their project? Would tax breaks and federal mandates to use renewable energy spur this project forward as some suggest or is this just another set of foggy excuses for drowning a not-all-that-desirable wind project and then blaming the government?

To keep an eye on this very important Southern US off-shore project, click here first for the rest of this story, and then get involved to help push this one forward by checking in with the Georgia Wind Working Group to see how you can help.

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