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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 >>

Be electrically safe and sound this holiday season

November 22, 2016   By Willard Strong in Safety
This is the week many of us put up our holiday lights and decorate the tree. Of course, some traditionalists will wait until the calendar turns to Dec.1 to begin decking the halls and such.

The holidays are supposed to be joyous time for family and friends, but bad things can of course happen any time of year. There are simple and easy things you can do to make the Thanksgiving and yuletide season safer for you and your loved ones---and give you peace of mind.

For example:

Prior to putting up or stringing lights on the tree, make sure you examine each set for loose connections, damaged sockets, or bare or frayed wires. Now, some lights may hold some sentimental value to you, but there’s nothing sentimental about have to dial 911 for the fire department if a dangerous lighting set goes terribly wrong. This could be an ideal time to replace older lighting sets with LEDs that are super energy efficient, essentially... Continue Reading >>

Weathering the dark

November 16, 2016   By Jessica Yourko in Reduce The Use

Replacing lighting with more energy-efficient LED fixtures can save you money.

Everyone who knows me knows that this is my favorite time of year.

By now, I have already decked my halls, trimmed the tree and checked my list at least twice. On Nov. 1, with a witch under one arm and Santa under the other, the transition begins. Always. Every year…except for this one. We pretty much just skip fall and go straight to winter.

With the cleanup from Hurricane Matthew still underway, my world has somehow gotten off kilter. I can’t seem to get into the spirit.

Looking forward though, I realize that there are so many things to be thankful for this November. The presidential election is over. Hallelujah! We are almost officially out of hurricane season. Thanksgiving will be upon us in no time (that means family, friends and some delicious food) and daylight saving time has ended.

OK, so everything was good up until the ending of daylight saving time. Going out on a limb here, I’m going to guess... Continue Reading >>

Celebrating seasons is upon us and the chance to make memories

November 09, 2016   By Nicole Aiello in Community

Celebrate The Season, which begins Nov. 25, is one way Santee Cooper and its sponsors give back to the community.

Yesterday, a co-worker of mine told about his weekend. He was rummaging around his attic in search of his family’s Christmas decorations. Yes, that’s right. Santa’s not the only one checking off lists. Christmas trees are going up as you read this.

And although that fact gives me some anxiety – not only because I love Thanksgiving, but also because my co-worker is putting up nine (you read that right – nine) trees in his house – I know the holiday spirit is in many of my friends' hearts and homes already.

Santee Cooper and Old Santee Canal Park are also working on making spirits bright. Employees are assembling snowflakes, decorating trees, taking conference calls with Santa, and testing thousands of sparkling blue, green, red and yellow LEDs in preparation for this year’s Celebrate The Season Holiday Lights Driving Tour and Holiday Fairs.

These jolly elves are happy to pitch in for this community... 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 >>

Hybrid electric vehicles: an owner’s personal perspective

October 26, 2016   By Elizabeth Kress in Green Power

Chevrolet has been selling the Volt, its plug-in hybrid, since 2011.

I have been planning to buy an electric car since 1978. During my junior year in college, I went to work as a summer intern for General Motors Corp.’s Delco-Remy division in Anderson, Ind. I helped build and test batteries for an electric car.

I still haven’t really bought one though, since my 2016 Chevrolet Volt is a lease. It’s also a plug-in hybrid, not fully electric. It costs $350 a month for a four-year lease, and someone else will have to worry about replacing the battery. Sticker price was $35,465, about the same as a pickup truck. Here are some of the more interesting answers to frequently asked questions:

How far can it go on a charge? Sixty miles, and then the gas engine starts to run. Once the gas engine starts, it gets an assist from the electric battery as can be seen from the battery usage indicator light showing charging and use. The battery assist helps improve gas mileage.

How far can it go with full... Continue Reading >>