We will close the coal-fueled Winyah Generating Station by 2027 and replace that power with 1,000 MW of solar, 200 MW of battery storage, and additional natural gas as needed for reliability. Our cleaner, greener generating mix will be cheaper too, saving $90 million a year initially and $170 million a year after 2027.
We will use $925 million in cash and other internal funds over the next two years to pay down debt, including $350 million in 2019 and $575 million in 2020 and 2021. That will significantly reduce overall debt and shorten its payback time.
Closing Winyah reduces Santee Cooper’s reliance on coal by over 40%. That reduction, plus the addition of clean energy resources, will lower our carbon emissions by about 30% over the next decade.
The plan includes 200 MW of battery storage – South Carolina’s first large commitment to this new technology – which will improve system reliability (especially with a larger renewable footprint). We’ll also be accelerating our rollout of smart meters to customers, and developing a new energy management program to help customers use new technologies to better manage their own energy use.
Santee Cooper plans to not raise rates for at least the next five years. Combined with several years already of steady prices helped by falling fuel costs, that will mean at least a decade with no increase in the cost of power to Santee Cooper customers.
*Source: 2019 Business Forecast, on a base rate plus fuel basis