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Santee Cooper is in the driver’s seat of economic development today and tomorrow

February 14, 2018   By Willard Strong in Economic Development
A bit of news from the S.C. Department of Commerce caught my eye this week: The Palmetto State’s economic value of exports in 2017 totaled $32.2 billion.

It’s the eighth straight year that South Carolina set such a record and represented an almost 3 percent increase over 2016. It used to be, for example in Colonial times and thereafter, agricultural products were what we primarily sent overseas. Indigo, rice and cotton in that order, represents that history.

Today, it’s cars and trucks. You know their names: BMW and Mercedes-Benz. In fact, 16 percent of all vehicle exports in this country come from South Carolina and BMW’s share alone is about $8.8 billion representing nearly a quarter-million vehicles.

As you likely know, Volvo Cars is building a manufacturing plant in Berkeley at Camp Hall, a massive industrial campus that Santee Cooper owns and is developing with an array of partners, including Berkeley Electric... Continue Reading >>

2015 Economic Development in Review

February 03, 2016   By Annie Caggiano in Economic Development

Volvo Cars broke ground on its new car manufacturing facility in Berkeley County in Sept. 2015. The new plant will initially produce the next-generation Volvo S60 sedan.

2015 represented an outstanding year for Santee Cooper and our electric cooperative partners . It all began with one of our strongest Januarys on record: By Jan. 28, we'd announced over $190 million in capital investment and 800 new jobs. Just four months later we announced that Volvo Cars would be building its first U.S. facility right here in Berkeley County. The announcement represented a $500 million capital investment and 2,000 jobs. In partnership with our electric cooperatives, we finished the year strong with a total announced investment of more than $1.4 billion and 5,085 jobs.

Looking back

There is a ton of work that goes on before any ribbon is cut or shovel of dirt is turned. For the staff of Santee Cooper and our partner, the South Carolina Power Team , this involves marketing our service territories directly to company executives, site location consultants and industrial product developers. It was a busy year:

Product... Continue Reading >>

"Valkommen, y'all"

June 10, 2015   By Willard Strong in Economic Development
I distinctly remember the first time I rode in a Volvo, and thinking how exotic it seemed.

It was 1972 when I was 17, working on a presidential election campaign from an abandoned storefront in my hometown. Every week for about a month or so, a man named Jeff would come from out of town and check up on how us volunteers were doing with our grassroots campaigning.

Jeff drove a dark green Volvo four door, a 144 model I think. It was one of the first Volvos I remember. I rode in it one time and knew it was a pretty rare ride for a small South Carolina town. And I knew it was made in Sweden, a faraway place across the Atlantic. It had a four-speed manual transmission and was boxy, of course, as all Volvos were back then.

Except for the one Leonard drove to school. Leonard was the local banker's son and a year younger than I. He and his sister, Marge, often drove into the student parking in a red Volvo P1800 , a late 1960s model. It reminded me... Continue Reading >>

The Volvo Effect

May 14, 2015   By Mollie Gore in Economic Development
I had a voicemail this morning from a reporter based in London. That's an unusual start to my day: I frequently get calls from media in other states, but not often from other countries.

I call it the Volvo effect, and that call is just a hint of the interest generated by Volvo Car Corp.'s decision to build a manufacturing plant in northwestern Berkeley County.

This announcement follows an aggressive, professional recruiting initiative led by Gov. Nikki Haley and Commerce Secretary Bobby Hitt and including many other partners: the South Carolina Power Team , the South Carolina Ports Authority , Berkeley County , ReadySC , Edisto Electric Cooperative and Berkeley Electric Cooperative , to name a handful.

Santee Cooper and Berkeley County have agreed to purchase property for the project, with Berkeley owning the actual Volvo site. Santee Cooper will keep close to 4,000 acres to develop into additional industrial sites for companies who... Continue Reading >>

Beating the drum for more jobs

January 29, 2015   By Kevin F. Langston in Economic Development
Santee Cooper has always considered economic development a critical component of our mission to be the state's leading resource for improving the quality of life for the people of South Carolina. Looking back on 2014, it was another banner year for these efforts.

We loaned $25.8 million to help advance economic development projects throughout the state as part of a new loan initiative we launched in 2012 to help build facilities and other commerce infrastructure to attract industry and jobs. Our board of directors also approved two site-readiness grant pools totaling $42.5 million to further help industry recruitment endeavors.

Specifically, the South Carolina Power Team Site Readiness Fund will award grants totaling up to $6 million a year for high-value projects in areas served by the state's electric cooperatives . Conjunctively, the new $2.5 million a year Santee Cooper Municipal Site Readiness Fund will offer grants for high-value projects in... Continue Reading >>