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Electric Utilities are the Answer to any Energy Problem


May 17, 2016   By Elizabeth Kress in Energy Matters

Public power has served America with reliable, affordable electricity for more than a century and is blazing a new path with renewable, cleaner energy in the future.

Too often today, it seems much of the public sees electric utilities as “the problem.”  The problem could be any of several.

Take your pick: rates too high, global warming, too much carbon dioxide emissions, not enough renewables, etc.  This blog will argue that the electric utilities are, in fact, the future answer and solution to these problems.

Electric utilities will be there to supply the energy that meets the future needs of our country.  When the public decides that it wants more renewable or carbon-free power, electric utilities will be there to find the best mix of renewables or carbon-free generation to fill that need. If the homeowner decides to supply some of his own power needs with solar panels, the electric utility will be there as backup to make sure the lights stay on, even if it rains for a fortnight.

Utilities understand generation choices and costs, and how to operate an electric grid so that... Continue Reading >>

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 >>