COLUMBIA (WACH) - Take a trip out west and you'll see them everywhere: wind turbines. Green Party candidate for senate Tom Clements says these giant propeller like windmills can power South Carolina homes and businesses.
"It's really stunning how much off shore wind we have here on the South Carolina coast," says Clements. "Particulalry on the northside of the coast, it could be 5 gigawatts, which is a huge amount of electricity that would be generated."
Clemson University is breaking ground on a test site for wind turbines in Charleston. Clements says wind power won't be the sole source of energy statewide. "On the days when the wind is not consistent, of course we do have a back up, so I think this should go hand in hand with first putting emphasis on conservation and efficieny in this state."
Clements says the wind industry will create thousands of jobs from engineering to manual labor. "There's more jobs per dollar in solar, wind and efficiency than other sectors of the economy, so I think this is the one place where we have a wedding of creating jobs and also protecting the environment."
SCE&G Spokesman Robert Yannity says the utility is not in favor of the wind turbines. He says turbines would have to be set up three deep from Georgia to North Carolina just to meet the bare minimum of energy needed. Yannity says the challenge would be transmitting all that power from 13 miles off shore back to land.
Clements faces incumbent Republican Jim Demint, Democrat Alvin Greene, and write-in candidate Nathalie Dupree.