We have several areas of concern with the Clean Power Plan. The biggest is the way EPA treats nuclear under construction.
When we announced our license application in 2008 to add two units to the V.C. Summer Nuclear Station, we cited emissions reduction as a chief reason for building new nuclear power. Electricity customers across the state are already paying for this $10 billion nuclear project.
South Carolina is one of three states building new nuclear. All three states face harsh target emissions goals. In assigning us a 51 percent reduction, EPA is essentially assuming the units are built, rather than under construction. The agency has then assigned us a steeper emissions target.
EPA is treating renewable projects currently under construction differently, letting states count emission impacts from these projects by setting a more reasonable goal. This amounts to inequitable treatment for different zero-emitting resources.
Other concerns stem from the fact that the EPA's state-level emissions targets vary widely and, in our case, are based on flawed assumptions about what is achievable in South Carolina. Renewable resources are very limited in South Carolina, and Santee Cooper has already tapped into the more cost-effective ones, such as biomass.
About 36 percent of the state’s electricity sales are to industrial customers. They are already operating at peak efficiency, which makes it very difficult for South Carolina to reach the energy efficiency increases assumed in the goal EPA handed us.
Other building blocks EPA has suggested are also impractical for South Carolina. We have limited natural gas resources, for instance.