South Carolina Governor McMaster Signs Bill Calling for an Offshore Wind Economic Development Study

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 22, 2022  

Media Contacts: 

Katharine Kollins, katharinek@sewind.org 

John Brooker, jbrooker@cvsc.org

Columbia, SC - On Friday, June 17, South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster signed into law House Bill 4831, which calls on the State’s Department of Commerce (Commerce) to conduct a study on the economic and supply chain advantages that South Carolina can leverage to compete in the United States’ nascent offshore wind industry. The bill calls on Commerce to evaluate: 1) specific segments of the offshore wind industry that South Carolina is particularly well-positioned to support, including manufacturing, assembly, and ancillary services; 2) potential benefits to local tax bases, including high-impact public and private investment opportunities, particularly in rural communities; 3) ancillary benefits, like improved public health outcomes; and 4) the overall impact of the offshore wind industry on South Carolina’s net economic output. 

As a result of the study, Commerce will develop a roadmap for recruiting and maintaining a supply chain capable of supporting future offshore wind development along the East Coast.

This effort will build upon previous studies conducted by Clemson University in 2012 and 2014. These studies estimated a hypothetical 1,000 MW wind farm off of South Carolina would cumulatively yield 3,879 direct, indirect, and induced jobs and $3.66 billion in economic output over a 10-year period. As the industry’s development accelerates in the United States, updated data is key to understanding the full benefits that offshore wind can provide to South Carolina. Furthermore, a report by the Special Initiative on Offshore Wind estimates that offshore wind presents a $109 billion opportunity in the United States. Because of the State’s experience and infrastructure stemming from its role in the automotive industry, South Carolina is well-positioned to capture significant portions of the industry’s economic benefits. 

Staff from the Southeastern Wind Coalition (SEWC) and Conservation Voters of South Carolina (CVSC) helped draft the bill’s text, provide context, and answer questions for state legislators.

“The Southeastern Wind Coalition applauds the hard work and dedication of the bill’s advocates, sponsors, and the South Carolina legislature at-large for passing this legislation at such a critical time for offshore wind,” said Katharine Kollins, President of SEWC. “As the number and scale of offshore wind projects continues to accelerate, South Carolina and its residents are very well-situated to reap the massive, long-term economic benefits of the industry.”

John Tynan, Executive Director of CVSC praises the lead sponsor of the legislation: "We need more leaders like Representative Elliott that recognize the transformative potential the clean energy industry offers our state. While this bill won't result in turbines off our coast, it will chart a path for creating thousands of high-quality, well paying clean jobs and reducing our state's reliance on dirty and expensive fossil fuel sources."

“This resolution is the first step in ensuring that South Carolina reaps the full economic potential of the $109B U.S. offshore wind industry,” said Diana Godlevskaya, SEWC’s Legislative Consultant and one of the authors of the bill. “By strategically expanding the state’s domestic supply chain, aligning manufacturing expertise, and attracting new business, South Carolina will be well positioned to become an offshore wind manufacturing and supply chain hub in the South.”

Jason Elliott, the bill’s sponsor, added, “South Carolina is perfectly situated to be a huge player in the offshore wind manufacturing industry. With planning and preparation, we can attract high paying jobs and significant investment in the Palmetto State.”


About CVSC

Conservation Voters of South Carolina makes conservation and environmental issues a top priority among South Carolina’s elected leaders, political candidates, and voters. CVSC fights for our air, land, water, and energy through bipartisan and pragmatic political action. For more information about Conservation Voters of South Carolina visit cvsc.org.

About SEWC

The Southeastern Wind Coalition is a 501(c)3 that works to advance the land-based and offshore wind industry in the Southeast. We focus on providing fact-based information on the economic and environmental opportunities of wind energy, and encourage solutions that result in net economic benefits to residents and ratepayers. For more information about the Southeastern Wind Coalition visit www.sewind.org.