Sunday’s editorial examines the varying forms of offshore
energy production before
The best approaches to energy
reforms - the comprehensive packages that U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham has taken
part in crafting - have viewed opening the
Of that fraction, 90 percent is
By contrast, the Gulf oil spill has
cast the risks of drilling in sharper relief, a worst-case scenario. Consider
reports that retail sales were off by 50 percent on Fourth of July weekend in
The risks associated with
extracting oil from our waters are high, and the benefits seem relatively low.
The balance may be different for natural gas, however. While a natural-gas
disaster would undeniably be destructive, it’s unlikely that it could wreck our
tourism industry as completely as the oil mats did on the
Both oil and natural gas, no matter
how much is out there, are finite resources. From a risk and reward standpoint,
wind power may have more to offer. While testing of its strength is still
ongoing, the offshore wind belt could prove a substantial energy resource. As
an additional benefit, the wind industry nationwide is still young, so
Before there is actual energy production from either oil or wind, the actual resources must first be found, and massive permitting processes will precede any actual construction. Each step will take years, but wind may have an edge here, because testing for it has already begun. On the other hand, the technology for retrieval and transportation is much more robust for oil, suggesting its mid-term returns could be faster.
South Carolina may still choose to pursue oil drilling, though we would hope the Gulf’s recent experience would urge our state to apply all caution to it. In the meantime, however, it would appear the comprehensive approach is still the best one - any political capital we pour into the pursuit of an oil industry ought be matched with equal or greater attention to exploring the possible benefits of wind.