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Santee Cooper continues to reduce carbon emissions


March 23, 2016   By Jay Hudson in Energy Matters
On Feb. 9, a divided U.S. Supreme Court took extraordinary action to indefinitely stay the Environmental Protection Agency's Clean Power Plan (CPP). This happened after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit denied a request to stay the rule. A 29-state coalition appealed to the Supreme Court, and in an unprecedented move the justices voted 5-4 to order the Obama administration to hold off on implementing the CPP until its legal challenges play out in court.

The regulation, which targets a nationwide reduction in carbon emissions from the power sector, will be on hold until the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit reviews the plan and any subsequent Supreme Court appeals are over. A hearing at the D.C. Circuit is set for June 2.

Some experts believe that EPA's comments on the Mercury Air Toxics Rule , which was remanded last summer by the Supreme Court for the agency's lack of consideration of compliance costs, may have... Continue Reading >>

A breath of fresh air


December 22, 2015   By Jay Hudson in Energy Matters

Source: www.scdhec.gov/HomeAndEnvironment/Air/MostCommonPollutants/Ozone/NAAQS/

On Oct. 1, the  U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced the final National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS) for ozone at 70 parts per billion (ppb), which is below the 2008 standard of 75 ppb.

The proposed rule considered changing the standard to as low as 60 ppb, and I discussed concerns over an unjustifiably low ozone standard earlier this year . While Santee Cooper urged EPA to not modify the standard at all, the agency did respond to scientifically based comments and kept the standard at the higher end of the range.

What's positive about this development is South Carolina is ready to comply. In the past decade, when some ozone levels were over 80 ppb, the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) established local air quality partnerships with local governments to encourage and implement voluntary efforts to reduce ozone precursors such as nitrogen oxides and volatile organic compounds (mostly from vehicle... Continue Reading >>

We planned for the Clean Power Plan


September 30, 2015   By Jay Hudson in Energy Matters

On July 23, 2015, SCE&G and its partners placed the 2.4-million pound CA01 module, which will house a number of major components in the first of two new units under construction at the V.C. Summer Nuclear Station. The CA01 module is a multi-compartment steel structure within the Unit 2 containment vessel. It's approximately 90 feet long, 95 feet wide, and 80 feet tall. [Via]

In 2007, our board of directors set an ambitious goal: to create 40 percent of our energy from non-greenhouse gas emitting resources, biomass fuels, energy efficiency and conservation by 2020. In the following eight years, Santee Cooper has become a state leader in saving energy through efficiency programs and generating energy from renewable sources including solar, landfill gas and biomass power. In late August, we generated our 1 millionth megawatt-hour of Green Power.

A key component of this 2007 goal was Santee Cooper's interest in two nuclear units currently under construction at the V.C. Summer Nuclear Station in Fairfield County. These two 1,117-megawatt units will soon provide customers with clean, non-greenhouse-gas-emitting electricity. Together with energy efficiency and renewables, the 40 percent goal will be met.

Recently, the Environmental Protection Agency released its final rule to regulate CO2 emissions from existing power... Continue Reading >>

Going nuclear


September 03, 2015   By Willard Strong in Energy Matters
Santee Cooper has been strategically and proactively working to reduce emissions through a number of initiatives, including closing four coal units at Jefferies and Grainger generating stations, adding renewables , providing customers with rebate-centered energy efficiency programs — and constructing new nuclear units. 

The October 2012 announcement to retire the Jefferies and Grainger generating stations marked the first time in Santee Cooper's 70-year generating history that it slated a baseload facility for decommissioning. Not much lasts forever in this world, and Jefferies and Grainger were reliable performers that served our customers well, beginning in the 1950s.

The decision to build baseload generation is one of the most important — if not the most important — decision an electric utility makes. Constructing a power plant requires planning, permitting and sometimes, perseverance.

There are challenges along... Continue Reading >>

The cost of compliance really does matter


July 08, 2015   By Jay Hudson in Energy Matters
On June 29, the Supreme Court of the United States found the Environmental Protection Agency should have considered the costs of compliance when it issued the Mercury and Air Toxins Standards (MATS for short) rule in late 2011.

In its official opinion , the Court stated: "The Agency refused to consider cost when making its decision. It estimated, however, that the cost of its regulations to power plants would be $9.6 billion a year, but the quantifiable benefits from the resulting reduction in hazardous-air-pollutant emissions would be $4 to $6 million a year. Petitioners (including 23 States) sought review of EPA's rule in the D.C. Circuit, which upheld the Agency's refusal to consider costs in its decision to regulate."

What this means is EPA had estimated the MATS rule would cost electric utilities almost $10 billion annually to comply while only producing $4 million to  $6 million per year in benefits from removing the targeted... Continue Reading >>