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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 >>

Diversity is the key to successful long-term energy strategy

November 02, 2016   By Susan Jackson in Environmental Stewardship
Most financial advisers agree a well-diversified portfolio is preferable over putting all money eggs in one basket.

The same holds true for our nation’s energy portfolio and diversification is the key to meeting national electricity requirements. Coal and gas, both abundant and economical fossil fuels, continue to be an important part of that mix, and will continue as a dominant global energy source far into the future.

With technology and regulations we have mastered previous environmental challenges associated with coal, such as achieving significant reductions in sulfur dioxide or SO2. Yet, coal continues to be challenged because of carbon dioxide (CO2).

Options, such as the use of carbon capture utilization and storage (CCUS) technologies, are needed to address CO2. BP Energy Outlook 2016 notes levels of CO2 emissions are expected to grow by 20 percent from 2014 to 2035

The United States Secretary of Energy Ernest... Continue Reading >>

Santee Cooper's Secret Agent

June 22, 2016   By Aaron Grant, Summer Intern in Environmental Stewardship
I will never forget the day I discovered my father’s true profession.

Growing up as a child who loved the game of baseball, my father and I would often play catch in the front yard. Sometimes he would be the catcher as I practiced pitching and sometimes he would roll me ground balls and throw me pop flies.

One day during the middle of one of our workouts, he randomly stopped what he was doing and looked down at one of his legs. He then gently yet promptly raised his glove hand just before slamming it hard against his leg. “Got ‘em!” he yelled as he pealed the now flattened mosquito carcass from his 1995 Rawlings Paul O’Neill Edition glove.

“Ahh, Aedes Albopictus, ” he said, examining the pest inches away from his eyes. He then looked at me and said, “This here is one of the most common mosquitos in the area and they primarily bite people around the ankle and calf area.”
Continue Reading >>

Sustainable electricity

June 16, 2016   By Jay Hudson in Environmental Stewardship

This SEFA Group truck is loading a coal ash product at Santee Cooper’s Winyah Generating Station near Georgetown that will be used for industrial purposes and not landfilled.

What is sustainable electricity? There are many definitions of how to meet social, environmental and economic goals simultaneously (referred to as the “triple bottom line”). The issue with electric utilities is how to do this in a heavily regulated environment while producing reliable, affordable power delivered directly to the customer’s home or business 24 hours per day, every day. It’s a complex issue with many moving parts. 

The idea of sustainably is a simple one: Provide what is needed (electricity) to ensure the product remains viable and productive – ensure it is sustained. Santee Cooper is working on many of these moving parts. Just to highlight a few:

Renewable energy – Santee Cooper is South Carolina’s leader with 130 megawatts either online or under contract. From the first landfill gas site to the state’s largest solar array in Colleton County to a new community solar program, Santee... Continue Reading >>