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Santee Cooper’s Utility-Scale Solar Projects Moving Forward

May 09, 2018   By Elizabeth Kress in Energy Matters

Bell Bay Solar’s 2 megawatt array is Santee Cooper’s latest investment in renewable energy.

The Colleton Solar Farm near Walterboro is in its fifth year of production, supplying enough solar for about 300 average households in South Carolina.

In addition to supplying electricity, this project supplied information and data that was used by industry and collegiate groups to develop an understanding of how solar acts in conjunction with power supply and power needs. The project included both fixed panels and single-axis tracking panels, so that data and comparisons were available for both.

On March 1 of this year, another utility-scale project called Bell Bay Solar was completed. It’s located in Horry County, at 6950 U.S. Highway 701 South near Conway. This 2-megawatt, direct-current project was oriented to face southwest. This orientation change shifts the solar generation to peak a little later in the afternoon, so that the tourist-induced summertime electric loads served by Santee Cooper along the nearby Grand Strand are met more... Continue Reading >>

Electric vehicles suddenly more attractive?

April 25, 2018   By Willard Strong in Energy Matters

With the recent hike is gasoline prices, the all-electric Chevrolet Bolt may become increasingly attractive to car buyers.

Noticed how gasoline prices have dramatically risen this year, around $2.55, $2.59 and even higher in some locations? 

The Lundberg Report, which has been tracking gas costs since the 1970s, stated over the weekend that gas prices increased 9 cents nationwide since last week. Late last December, for example, you could easily buy 87 octane regular for about $2.10—or less. It’s been an uphill climb since the big ball dropped in Times Square.

According to the April 23 edition of The Wall Street Journal, the cruel culprit is the price of crude oil, now approaching $70 a barrel, the highest since 2014. There’s not much relief on the horizon most experts say, as a brisk economy has stimulated demand both here and abroad.

Moreover, the Organization for the Petroleum Exporting Countries, OPEC, and other world-stage players, cut back production to get prices up. Bottom line: The glut is gone and gas prices are unlikely to fall... Continue Reading >>

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 >>