Search Santee Cooper

Showing posts in category Environmental Stewardship  Show all posts >

Climate rules on hold?


April 05, 2017   By Jay Hudson in Environmental Stewardship

The Winyah Generating Station near Georgetown, S.C. has a generating capability of 1,130 megawatts and is an important part of Santee Cooper’s generation mix.

Last week, President Trump signed an executive order that begins to process of dismantling the Obama administration’s climate policies.

The centerpiece of the Obama climate legacy is clearly the Clean Power Plan (CPP), which regulates carbon emissions from existing coal-fired power plants.  The executive order directs EPA to immediately review the CPP, a regulation promulgated pursuant to section 111(d) of the Clean Air Act.  Following the issuance of the executive order, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt signed a Federal Register notice announcing that EPA is reviewing the CPP per the order and to quote “if appropriate, will initiate proceedings to suspend, revise or rescind the Clean Power Plan.”  

There were many problems with the CPP.  It was a state by state plan.  Each state had a starting point then a complexly derived carbon-dioxide (C02) reduction target to meet in... Continue Reading >>

Recycling rumors


March 08, 2017   By Elizabeth Kress in Environmental Stewardship

Recycling is always a good idea for the environment and most times, your pocketbook too.

There is so much misinformation about recycling that it’s hard to know where to begin to educate folks.

Plastic, aluminum, glass, textiles, wood waste and organics each have their own story for processing and value. The scrap value can swing wildly as the markets change.

Santee Cooper has used wood waste, landfill gas and organics to produce electricity, so here’s hoping you’ll be interested in a blog on recycling of other materials and the circular economy as a whole.

In this blog, we explore the recycling of clothing, using local Goodwill as our specific and local example . I recently heard someone say, “You know, Goodwill throws out clothes they get that are out of season.” I tracked down Goodwill’s public relations manager, Kaley Briesmaster, to get the truth.

Goodwill accepts any clean clothing or textiles at all of its branches. At our local drive-through dropoff, the employee meets... Continue Reading >>

Regulatory reform is a good thing


February 22, 2017   By Jay Hudson in Environmental Stewardship

The Federal Register is the official journal of the U.S. government that contains government agency rules, proposed rules and notices, including those that may affect the electric utility industry.

The new Trump administration has generated a large volume of dialog over issues ranging from immigration to health care.  We see voices on these issues every night, both for and against changes to existing policies.

One thing we should be positive about is regulatory reform.   One administration proposal is that for every new regulation, two must be eliminated or significantly reformed. The administration has also reached out to business groups requesting regulatory changes that would streamline how businesses operate.

According to a recent George Washington University study, the volume of regulations published annually has increased from 75,000 pages per year in 1975 to nearly 180,000 pages per year in 2015--and growing.   

Businesses have staff and employ consultants to monitor these daily, so that compliance is maintained.    Specifically, the electric utility industry is one of the most regulated... Continue Reading >>

Lowering our greenhouse gas impact at home


January 11, 2017   By Jay Hudson in Environmental Stewardship

Full Lifecycle Assessment of Greenhouse Gas Emissions: Most Emissions from Common Proteins and Vegetables Occur During Production

Everything we do has some type of impact on the environment.

We have all heard that electricity production is responsible for large amounts of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. To be exact, in 2014, the energy sector was responsible for 30 percent of U.S. GHG emissions , with coal-based energy the largest contributor. Using less energy is always a good way to help lower GHG emissions. 

At Santee Cooper, we have seen a decline in the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from Cross Generating Station, our largest coal-fired facility. C02 is a GHG and in 2015, we emitted 5.6 billion pounds less than in 2014, as we rely more heavily on natural gas-fired generation.

Transportation emissions (cars, boats, aircraft, etc.) are also large contributors at 26 percent . Driving more efficient vehicles, maintaining our vehicles or simply driving less can lower our impact at home.

While both of these are certainly large... Continue Reading >>

Forestry management important to South Carolina


December 01, 2016   By Elizabeth Kress in Environmental Stewardship

The Pinelands biomass plant near Harleyville, S.C., operated by EDF Renewable Energy, is capable of producing up to 17.8 megawatts of renewable energy derived from forestry and wood products found in South Carolina. Santee Cooper purchases energy from the plant and from a similar facility in Allendale County.

The forests in South Carolina are impressive and something that you notice as you drive anywhere in the state.

The trees push right up to the roads, often making a canopy. Walk a short way into the woods and you will notice the quiet that wraps and insulates you. Prior to Hurricane Hugo, the ride to Santee Cooper’s Wampee Conference Center gave you a feeling of going back in time because the trees seemed to pull you into a tunnel toward a previous age.

Recently, I was privileged to meet with some biomass experts on a U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Forest Service effort. The work involves modeling the available woody biomass resource within the state borders of South Carolina. Our S.C. Forestry Commission has a good handle on the size or “volume” of forests in our state.

They update the forest inventory numbers regularly, and are knowledgeable on the forces that affect both the supply and the demand for trees. The... Continue Reading >>