Plugged In

Camp Hall, Next-Generation Commerce Park, Works for Industry

Camp Hall Groundbreaking

Camp Hall offers manufacturers, logistics companies and other industries much more than just a modern campus. Located near Charleston in Berkeley County, S.C., this premier commerce park will recruit elite employees by offering unique onsite amenities, such as a health center, day care, park-wide WiFi, shopping and dining, all nestled into an ecologically significant footprint with fitness trails and open space for community events.

Santee Cooper is developing Camp Hall as a next-generation commerce park where employees will want to work, helping industries compete for well-qualified employees.

Camp Hall is already home to Volvo Car USA's first U.S. automobile manufacturing plant, a $1 billion investment that will ultimately employ 4,000 people. All told, the 6,800 -acre commerce park could ultimately be home to more than 10,000 additional jobs. Beyond the Volvo facilities, Camp Hall has 1,300 developable acres and 1,950 acres of preserved land. Santee Cooper is also restoring 365 acres of wetlands, including reestablishing the headwaters of Timothy Creek. Walking and biking trails will provide employee and community access across the preserved acreage.

A planned Village Center will be home to amenities that make the work-life balance easier, as well as dining and open space convenient to employees and nearby residents. Additional information is available at

"When we began mapping out Camp Hall, we did our research. We asked industrial workers what they wanted most in a workplace," said Stephen H. Mudge, a member of Santee Cooper's Board of Directors and chair of its Property Committee. "They want onsite wellness and health centers, walking trails, and places to eat and shop. By planning around a Village Center with those conveniences, we are building a commerce park unlike any other I've seen."

A survey of 257 MAU Workforce Solutions associates working or seeking employment in manufacturing, logistics, distribution or another business in a commerce park, conducted by Permar Inc./Hargett Consulting LLC, found:

  • More than three-fourths of respondents likely would use onsite amenities such as a gas station, restaurants, grocery store, convenience store, bank, drug store and fitness center.
  • Four out of five respondents likely would use onsite parks, walking/jogging trails and picnic areas.

Jim Brogdon, Santee Cooper Interim President and CEO, said, "Camp Hall reflects the vision and hard work of many people and organizations beyond Santee Cooper. Berkeley County, Berkeley and Edisto electric cooperatives, the South Carolina Department of Commerce and the South Carolina Power Team are instrumental to this project's success. Additionally, our work with Palmetto Railways, readySC, the South Carolina Department of Transportation, the South Carolina Ports Authority, the state's environmental advocacy community and the Charleston Regional Development Alliance will ensure Camp Hall's bright future and decades of opportunity for this part of the state."

In a videotaped message at Camp Hall's June 6 groundbreaking, U.S. Rep. James E. Clyburn called it a "momentous occasion" that highlights the toughness the state has shown in the decades since the Charleston Naval Base closed. Because of that determination, "we look toward the future with as much hope and aspiration as any of us have had in decades," Clyburn said. "Thank you so much for your tremendous commitment to the people of South Carolina."

Robert M. Hitt III, South Carolina Commerce Secretary, said, "The creation of a next-generation commerce park is further proof of the level of commitment, creativity and foresight Team South Carolina has in setting the table for economic development success. This team knows the importance of creating sites that will ensure South Carolina remains competitive in the years to come."

"Camp Hall is an exciting project that will make a major difference in the prosperity of rural Berkeley, Dorchester and Orangeburg counties," said S.C. Sen. John W. Matthews Jr., whose Senate district includes Camp Hall. "It offers interstate access, rail and other infrastructure critical to industry, and the natural setting and conveniences will make people want to work here. Camp Hall has the potential to transform this area in all the right ways."

Berkeley County Supervisor Bill Peagler said, "Breaking ground on this new commerce park is an exciting step for Berkeley County. This will help continue the County's mission to recruit quality industries and businesses, and it will also preserve and enhance the quality of life for future generations by providing job opportunities. Additionally, it will help alleviate traffic around the Tri-County region, both in reversing the flow of traffic and by limiting congestion on secondary roads."

Bell Bay Solar Farm Joins Santee Cooper Renewable Energy Portfolio

Over 5,900 solar panels are now generating electricity at Santee Cooper's new Bell Bay Solar Farm. The solar farm has been uniquely designed to maximize solar energy in the afternoon to coincide with the Grand Strand's peak energy usage.

Bell Bay Solar

"We engineered the tilt of the solar panels to take full advantage of the afternoon summer sun, when our customers use the most electricity," said Marc Tye, Santee Cooper executive vice president and COO. "This is a distinctive way to build a solar farm, and we will study the results of this new approach for future Santee Cooper solar farms."

Bell Bay Solar Farm has approximately 2 megawatts of power output generated by 5,904 solar panels and has been brought onto Santee Cooper's system with the help of Green Power funds. When customers from Santee Cooper and the state's electric cooperatives voluntarily purchase Green Power, we reinvest that revenue into new or expanded sources of renewable energy.

"Our vision for Green Power from the beginning has been to use funds from Green Power sales to develop new renewable energy sources right here in South Carolina," said Tye. "Bell Bay Solar Farm is the product of almost two decades of work promoting and supporting Green Power. Santee Cooper is proud of this accomplishment, and we truly appreciate the support that our Green Power customers have shown to this program."

Since launching Green Power, South Carolina's first renewable energy program, offered to customers 17 years ago, Santee Cooper has continued its commitments to growing renewable energy from South Carolina resources, like solar.

Built on a 10.03-acre tract, Bell Bay Solar Farm is less than 8 miles from Conway, S.C.

Lineworkers No. 1 in Nation, 2nd in Safety

Safety Check

Santee Cooper employees took top honors at two major American Public Power Association events in April, returning with some serious bling for our lineworker skills as well as our safety record.

First up was APPA's 2018 Public Power Lineworkers Rodeo, a national competition showcasing lineworker skills and knowledge. Hosted by ElectriCities of North Carolina, the event was held in Wake Forest, North Carolina, with a total of 67 journeyman teams and 147 apprentice lineworkers competing. View a video of the event here.

First place overall in the Journeyman Division was awarded to Santee Cooper Distribution Line Technician A Dow Hardee, Distribution Line Technician A Joe Sawyer, Distribution Line Technician A Chad Williams and Distribution Crew Supervisor Drew Jordan, who coached the distribution team.

Second place overall went to Santee Cooper Transmission Line Technician A James Ayers, Transmission Line Technician A Johnny Brinson, Transmission Crew Supervisor Kevin Rhode and Transmission Line Technician B Tyler Davison (alternate).

Santee Cooper Distribution Line Technician B Jamie Anderson won fourth place overall in the Apprentice Division.

On April 30 at APPA's Engineering & Operations Technical Conference in nearby Raleigh, Jason Fugate, manager of occupational safety, accepted the second-place award for Excellence in Safety, presented annually by APPA. Manager of Distribution Operations Neil James and Manager of Distribution Planning and Technical Operations Diane Bell both represented Santee Cooper as presenters at this year's conference.

Congratulations to all of our employees. Santee Cooper is a proud member of APPA, and our employees represent us well with their hard work, dedication and commitment to safety.

The Heritage Creates a Green Power Legacy

It started with a promise made 10 years ago.

It was an optimistic and altruistic promise to power every drive, chip and putt at the RBC Heritage Presented by Boeing with 100 percent Green Power. Now, 10 years later, that commitment has helped pave the way for the PGA TOUR golf tournament to become a leading supporter of the environment.

The Heritage, which also celebrated its 50th anniversary this year, is the largest event in South Carolina that's used and promoted Green Power for a decade straight. The Green Power used for the golf tournament is generated by Santee Cooper and distributed by Palmetto Electric Cooperative.

"When we made the decision to use Green Power at the Heritage, we couldn't imagine how successful it would be 10 years later," said RBC Heritage President and Tournament Director Steve Wilmot. "We are thrilled to be considered pioneers in promoting environmental stewardship at one of the most prestigious golf tournaments in the country. More than that, we truly believe going green was the right thing to do a decade ago, and continues to be the right thing to do today. We are part of the community we serve, and we're concerned about protecting and preserving our environment."

Green Power is made from 100 percent renewable energy sources located in South Carolina. Those sources include landfill methane gas that's captured and used to make electricity, solar power that harnesses the sun's rays, and wind power that blows along the coast. Santee Cooper was the first utility in the state to bring Green Power to the grid and offer it to customers. While Santee Cooper generates that power, the state's electric cooperatives help distribute it, so it can reach all corners of the state.

Palmetto Electric Cooperative on Hilton Head Island has been one of the leading champions of Green Power since its inception in 2001 and has been instrumental in helping the Heritage reach this 10-year milestone.

"This is near and dear to our hearts and our mission," said Berl Davis, president and CEO at Palmetto Electric. "We know the power of protecting the environment and believe it's our duty to do so. Distributing Green Power to our customers is a great way to show we care. And having a decade-long commitment, partnership and friendship with the folks at the RBC Heritage is very meaningful to us at Palmetto Electric."

The Heritage doesn't stop its environmental commitment with Green Power. Heritage organizers have made going green a part of the culture of the tournament. Last year, they announced a goal of meeting the new international sustainability standard for golf tournaments, being developed by the Golf Environment Organization.

"It is hard to believe we were celebrating the 40th RBC Heritage when we committed to using Green Power 10 years ago," said Wilmot. "That decision has led us to implement a number of other environmental programs during tournament week. We will continue to push toward our goal of being a leader for sustainability in golf."

Wilmot continued, "We're proud of what we've been able to accomplish. We've encouraged spectators to cycle to the event instead of using their cars, and in 2016 more than 4,000 spectators covered over 25,000 miles. That number continues to grow each year."

The event's host, The Sea Pines Resort, has also been environmentally conscientious. The resort earned the GEO Certified® Facilities mark, demonstrating its commitment to nature, resources and community. The resort was also part of the community portfolio of 15 Hilton Head Island area golf facilities that won the 2017 Sustainable Golf Destination of the Year award from IAGTO, the Global Golf Tourism Organization.

Overall, it's a team effort that organizers hope will encourage others to take steps to be better environmental stewards.

"We've challenged other tournaments across the state to make their greens 'green,'" said Wilmot. "In another 10 years, I hope we're still celebrating these environmental milestones."

Powering Through 2018's Snow Days

Powering Through 2018’s Snow Days

With summer temperatures now firmly in hand, the memory of Winter Storm Grayson seems even more distant. But Grayson arrived on Jan. 3, bringing rarely seen, lingering snow and ice to Santee Cooper's direct service territory.

Big, white flakes spilled from the sky like stars falling from the heavens. It was a veritable white winterland as children donned heavy coats and knit hats, then gathered makeshift sleds instead of their pencils and books. While the kids made snowmen and snow angels, Santee Cooper employees worked overtime to make sure the children's homes were warm when they were done playing.

It wasn't easy. Our generating plants saw considerable challenges, as overnight temperatures in the mid-teens became the norm and the mercury didn't go above freezing for several days. That meant demand for electricity was high.

"I'm very proud of all the members of the Cross team, especially those who worked many hours in extreme conditions to keep the units running at full capacity," said Cross Generating Station Manager Don Cribb. "To overcome the pressures of working on complicated electrical and mechanical systems in extreme weather without a safety incident is commendable."

Cribb said 61 station employees, 12 long-term contractors and three contract crews all played critical roles in emergency coverage during Grayson. Many employees stayed at the station 24 hours a day to make sure customers' lights stayed on, even while roads and bridges were impassable.

Cribb said advance planning played a big part in meeting the challenge posed by the snowfall and record low temperatures in the storm's aftermath.

The 4 inches of snow that had fallen in Georgetown covered the Winyah Generating Station plant site. Generating Stations Vice President Tommy Curtis said a tube leak and subsequent trip of Unit 1 at Winyah that occurred just before midnight on Jan. 5 was particularly problematic for personnel working on the 43-year-old unit, Winyah's oldest. Crews worked through the night to fix the problem.

With that repair, 275 MWs of much-needed generation returned to the grid, enough power to light up about 192,500 average-sized homes on Santee Cooper's system.

"Both the Winyah and Cross stations dealt with material-handling issues due to freezing," said Curtis. "Cross kept a crew 24 hours a day for four days, chipping and shoveling to keep the limestone system from freezing. They erected scaffolding and tents with heaters to keep the silos on Cross Unit 1 from freezing. Winyah Station folks manually chipped frozen coal off of feeders."

The combustion turbines at Hilton Head Island and Myrtle Beach, which serve as peaking units when demand for power is high, also faced obstacles.

Ernest Hardwick manages those assets, with turbines ranging in age from 42 to 55 years old. He said they were tested and, while some problems were addressed before the storm, others took quick thinking. For example, late on the night of Jan. 6, a part failed on the fuel supply that starts up Myrtle Beach's No. 1 unit. A diesel engine starts the unit, which can run on either oil or natural gas.

"With no parts available, the diesel was started by using a hose connected to the fuel inlet that was submersed in a bucket of fuel," Hardwick said. "It took seven buckets to get through the start cycle before the turbine speed overcame the diesel. We had to have a 'bucket brigade' to collect and transfer fuel in buckets during startup."

The Upcountry was spared the winter storm, but the frigid temperatures challenged the team at Rainey Generating Station in Anderson County. Station Manager Keith Smith said the natural-gas fired facility performed very well and continues to be a key component of Santee Cooper's generation mix.