South Carolina’s Technical College of the Lowcountry (TCL) serves a large and very diverse community alongside the Intracoastal Waterway - an energy-poor region with high electricity demand. The region’s power plants typically buy coal or natural gas from beyond state borders, but recently area industries have set their sights on using more sustainable energy resources. For example, the U.S. Navy and Marines—a strong presence in the region—have set a goal of producing 50 percent of their energy from renewable sources by 2020. As a result, over the past several years, TCL has stepped beyond its traditional role of educator to become one of the leading regional partners in bringing renewable and sustainable energy and practices to the area.
Taking advantage of its location, TCL has installed an electrical generator on the Beaufort River to confirm the potential of tidal energy. The college resides on one of the largest natural harbors and tidal marsh/rivers systems on the East Coast, with tides ranging from 6 to 8 feet every six hours and a flow rate that makes such small tidal generators feasible for certain projects. The project generates 60 watts per hour at full tide, powering 1,000 LED lights for the college’s holiday tree in December. “This pilot initiative showed us the concept works,” said Feight. “Additional designs will be tested this coming spring, and workshops will be planned so community residents and business firms in our area can implement this energy saving alternative.” Wind power could be next—with enough Atlantic wind blowing steadily off the shallow continental shelf to power 1 million homes or more.
TLC will continue offering green job training programs to support the workforce demand, and to show by example how renewable technologies can be cost-effective and efficient.
If you would like more information, please follow the links and contact below:
Director of Business and Community Relations