Sandifer: ‘Wind won’t work’ as energy in the state
CLEMSON — While experts agree South Carolina will need more energy sources in the near future, arguments usually ensue on how to do just that.

Following the ninth annual ThinkTEC Innovation Summit in North Charleston, Clemson director of business development, Elizabeth Colbert-Busch and other experts, stated the Palmetto State has the potential to power more than 1 million homes and create a surge in jobs with the help of wind.

“If you do the math, wind power could generate more than 20,000 new jobs in South Carolina by 2030,” Colbert-Busch said. “The opportunities for this state are enormous.”

But Rep. Bill Sandifer, R-Seneca, disagreed, stating that while wind power may sound like a great idea, it’s just not a feasible option.

“There is no doubt that we are going to need energy sources in the coming years,” he said. “But wind won’t work. It just won’t.”

The problem lies in the fact that there are not viable sustained winds that blow through the state, he argued.

“A base load of electricity is what we need,” he said. “Base load means that there is a continuous source of electricity, 24-7, 365. There is some wind offshore about 25 miles but even then, we do not have the technology to bring it back on shore.”

Unlike oil, tankers can’t bring back wind energy for use on-shore, he added.

“Quite frankly, I do not see us having wind power as an energy source.

“We need to dramatically decrease our carbon footprint and increase the generation of nuclear energy.”

Even though Sandifer said he is not against alternative forms of energy, he said he believes the energy focus needs to stay away from wind and the like.

“Even other forms like biomass, geothermal and solar won’t work,” he said. “We have worked tirelessly to try and find energy sources that would be a solution, save money and keep the environment thriving. Experts that we work with have indicated that these sources would not be a sustainable fix.”

Sandifer also had correspondence with Oregon State University because a program is working to harvest energy from ocean waves.

“I asked the head of the study if this would be an option on the East Coast,” he said. “And he told me, ‘absolutely not.’

“The waves on the east coast, like the wind, are very inconsistent, he added. “We are trying everything possible. I promise you that.”