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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 >>

Navigating the Waters of the United States


April 15, 2015   By Jay Hudson in Energy Matters
In order to determine what constitutes "jurisdictional" bodies of water, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers actually has a definition of "Waters of the U.S." This definition began with the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899 as "navigable waters, or tributaries thereof" when the Corps was assigned the responsibility of regulating crossings and maintaining waterways typically for transportation and commerce. Dredging the Charleston Harbor channel is a local example. 

Many years ago, during an update to the Clean Water Act , the Corps of Engineers was given responsibility to regulate wetlands, and the definition of jurisdictional "Waters of the U.S." took on a much more important meaning. Over the years, through various legal decisions, this definition narrowed to include those water bodies and features that were connected to a flowing water body, like a stream or lake. Swampy areas that were not directly connected were considered "isolated wetlands" and were excluded... Continue Reading >>

New Ozone Regulations - What's the Right Balance?


January 26, 2015   By Jay Hudson in Energy Matters
There are two sources of ozone that are important to us. The ozone in our upper atmosphere protects us from the sun's ultraviolet rays, and we couldn't survive without it. Then there's ground level ozone, which can be harmful to our lungs. It is formed through a chemical reaction when nitrogen oxides (NOx) and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) interact with sunlight. Emissions from power plants, industrial facilities, automobiles, gasoline vapors and solvents are all sources of NOx and VOCs. Natural sources, such as plant life and fires, also contribute to the formation of ozone.

The current national standard for ozone is 75 parts per billion (ppb), which is 33 percent lower than it was in 1980. Most of the country is meeting this standard, but there are still dense population centers like Houston and Southern California that do not meet the current standard.

Based on 40-year-old provisions in the Clean Air Act, EPA evaluates the standard every... Continue Reading >>