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Energy Matters


March 07, 2018   By Susan Jackson in Energy Matters
In order for America to have a strong economy, America needs energy security with a sound energy policy. That means energy has to be affordable, abundant and reliable.

All of our nation’s energy resources, including resources which are not popular due to environmental misconceptions, are needed to maintain energy security. Without a doubt, coal is our nation’s most abundant energy resource, produced domestically, and this abundance leads to affordability.  According to U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), coal was the second-largest energy source for U.S. electricity generation in 2016—about 30 percent.

We have all heard for years that coal is a finite resource and the well (or the mine in this case, is running dry). These claims have been made for years. The earliest shortage claim I’ve seen was published in “The Wonders of Science” in 1912 (yes, 1912).

In this science book, Sir William... Continue Reading >>

Where Do You Get Your Energy?


February 21, 2018   By Susan Mungo in Energy Matters

Santee Cooper strives to provide its customers with reliable, affordable electric power.

I’ve heard a lot lately about how living in the great state of South Carolina means you have higher energy bills than most other states. I beg to differ.

The fact is, as a Santee Cooper customer, what I pay per kilowatt-hour of electricity is lower than most.

So where are those stories or facts coming from? Are energy and electricity bills the same thing? That is actually kind of like comparing apples to oranges. Here in the South, most (64 percent) of us have all- electric homes.

That probably means our energy bill and our electricity bill is close to being interchangeable. But if you use natural gas at home for anything, the cost for gas should be added to the overall “energy bill.”

In other parts of the country, as much as 82 percent of the population use another fuel source to heat or cool their home. They also often use gas to cook with or keep their water heater running.  That means they are not... Continue Reading >>

Solar power update in South Carolina


February 07, 2018   By Elizabeth Kress in Energy Matters

Solar energy has a bright future in South Carolina as more megawatts are installed in the Palmetto State.

Members of the South Carolina Solar Council meet regularly to share information about the solar industry in the Palmetto State.

Issues and challenges are discussed, and actions taken to address them. Some of the presentations from the meeting are available on their blog page . For example, the South Carolina Energy Office (SCEO) developed information and a website to help consumers with solar information. This website gives helpful information about solar, as well as a place to take a consumer complaint if needed.

The SCEO tracks the status of solar installations as part of its work for the federal Department of Energy. They reported a total of 176 megawatts (MW) of installed solar in the state as of July 31, 2017. For comparison, 176 MW is larger than any of the coal units recently retired at Grainger or Jefferies stations, or a little more power than a simple-cycle natural gas turbine at Rainey Generating Station, except that solar only puts out power... Continue Reading >>

Another Advent: An Optimistic View of Our Energy Future


December 20, 2017   By Elizabeth Kress in Energy Matters

The Colleton Solar Farm near Walterboro is part of Santee Cooper’s power-source diversity.

Energy policy, as with most aspects of government policy, swings like a pendulum between the extremes.

When science and commerce compete for a voice, many times the money of commerce speaks louder than the individuals who understand the science. Fortunately, even at a time when it may seem we are moving in the wrong direction, there is progress that takes us to new possibilities.

We are at the beginning of some exciting changes in energy use. These are new energy transformations in all senses of the word: energy from the sun and the wind transformed into electricity, and again transformed into stored energy. These new capabilities to store energy will help reduce inefficiencies in how our energy is made, moved and used.

We pay a huge price for being inefficient with our energy. To give you an idea of the extent of the energy wasted, Lawrence Livermore Labs produced a summary chart showing a balance of how all the U.S. Energy was produced,... Continue Reading >>

Fall Prep Winter Ready


October 25, 2017   By Jessica Yourko in Energy Matters

Energy “vampires” won’t be lurking about just around Halloween. They’re year-round energy stealers. Prevent them by unplugging appliances not in use.

It’s that time, the time when everything smells like pumpkin spice and when the weather seems to be having an identity crisis.

Just last week, I needed my a/c when I crawled into bed and my heat to crawl back out.

Talk about confusing. My kids don’t know whether to wear sweaters and boots to school or T-shirts and sandals. All I can say is welcome to our kind of fall.

As much as I complain about fall, it does have a good side though. It is a dress rehearsal for the next season.  It gives us a chance make sure we are ready for old man winter. Here are a few fall tips to get you ready:

Check for leaks and cracks around doors and windows.  Frosty fall mornings make drafty areas easier to spot. Replace old weather-stripping around doors. In the mornings, open your curtains and let the sun shine in. Warm your home without having to turn up the heat. During the day, raise the windows and feel the breeze. ... Continue Reading >>