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South Carolina Well-Positioned to Benefit From Emerging Offshore Wind Industry in U.S.


February 28, 2018   By Elizabeth Kress in Green Energy

Offshore windmills like this one may become more prevalent in the Southeast’s energy mix.

This year is off to a stellar start for the U.S. Offshore Wind (OSW) industry. Many East Coast states (New York, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Maryland and Virginia) have seen accelerated efforts to develop both offshore wind farms and transmission cabling back to shore.

Worldwide, Denmark decided as early as 1991 that it could develop an OSW industry. Necessity is the mother of invention. Denmark (as well as other European nations with lots of coastline relative to their interior area) set out to find alternatives for power production.

Santee Cooper was an early state leader to study carbon-free and lower carbon generating technologies. This was a critical time in the development of various industries that have become “clean power.”

Some  carbon-abating projects have succeeded and some have not. The push for lower carbon options for power generation has outlasted many political shifts at state, federal and... Continue Reading >>

Solar power moving forward at Santee Cooper, but the traditional grid isn’t going anywhere anytime soon


January 17, 2018   By Willard Strong in Green Energy

Santee Cooper’s Green Power Solar Pavilions at Coastal Carolina University in Conway entered commercial operation in July 2006 and are capable of producing 16 kilowatts of electricity.

Santee Cooper first introduced solar power and wind power to the state’s electric grid, and was a key player in South Carolina’s first community solar farm.

We have worked with our electric cooperative partners to introduce solar schools statewide, teaching the next generation of customers the possibilities and limitations of generating electricity from the sun.

The future is bright (OK, pun intended), but a story in the Jan. 16 edition of The Wall Street Journal caught my eyed. Its Headline: “Obstacles Still Cloud Solar Power’s Future.”

In the article, writer Christopher Mims stated that solar power has real-world shortcomings that must be overcome before it can advance at a brisker pace. He states, for example, “For solar power to meet 30 percent of the world’s electricity needs, it will need to fall from its current cost of a dollar per watt of electricity to 25 cents per watt, says Varun Sivaram,... Continue Reading >>

Solar Share at Santee Cooper Harnesses Sun Power to Your Benefit and Convenience


November 15, 2017   By Susan Mungo in Green Energy

The Colleton Solar Farm near Walterboro, S.C. is part of Santee Cooper’s commitment to renewable energy.

I am one of those people who like to be able to have my cake and eat it too.

I admit that most of the time life does not work out that way. Every now and then, though, we all get lucky.

Santee Cooper has a solar program that has made being green and using solar power a situation where I can not only have my cake, but I can eat it, too. I can also use the sun to bake that cake. 

Solar Share is a community solar program that allows me to offset my energy usage with solar power. But I don’t have to install or maintain anything! No rooftop panels and no special equipment in my home, and Santee Cooper automatically credits my bill based on the size of my subscription and my share of the monthly output produced at the Colleton Solar Farm near Walterboro.

Rather than spend money on equipment, I buy a subscription in amounts that range from 1 to 6 kilowatts. Santee Cooper even offers me a rebate for each kilowatt I purchase... Continue Reading >>

The Green Power story continues


November 01, 2017   By Elizabeth Kress in Green Energy

Santee Cooper’s Horry Landfill Generating Station is located near Conway at the county’s landfill and was Santee Cooper’s first landfill gas facility, opening in 2001.

Santee Cooper’s Green Power story began when Horry County officials approached Santee Cooper about using its landfill gas to produce electricity.

The technology to do this involves using wells with perforated pipe to draw the gas out of the landfill and onto an engine or turbine which generates electricity. It took more than five years to work out an arrangement to develop the first landfill site, which became operational in September 2001.

At the same time, the public’s interest in renewable energy sources surged. In 2001, Santee Cooper certified the process by which landfill gas produced electricity to the exacting standards of Green-e Energy, and began to offer Green Power for sale to customers who want a greener or reduced-carbon option for their electricity. Santee Cooper pledged to use the proceeds of these sales to build more renewable generation.

Since that time, five more landfills have been developed into electricity... Continue Reading >>

The forecast is sunny, with lower costs already here


October 04, 2017   By Elizabeth Kress in Green Energy

The cost of solar panels continues to decline.

The solar photovoltaics (PV) industry has seen cost reductions and other milestones much faster than expected.

The U.S. Department of Energy developed its SunShot program to drive down the cost of solar electricity and support solar adoption. For utility-scale solar, the 2020 goal of 6 cents per kilowatt-hour Levelized Cost of Energy (LCOE) was recently reached three years early.

This LCOE does not include any federal, state or local incentives. The average levelized price of purchased-power agreements signed in 2016 was approximately $35 per megawatt-hour, although there is some chance that module pricing and other issues could keep a portion of those projects from being built.

Nationally, there are 47 gigawatts (GW) of solar installed in the U.S.  In South Carolina at the end of 2016, 25 megawatts (MW) were installed, which includes 12 MW of residential, 10 MW of utility-scale and 3 MW of other solar. Looking around at our neighboring... Continue Reading >>