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Showing posts by author Willard Strong  Show all posts >

Electric vehicles suddenly more attractive?


April 25, 2018   By Willard Strong in Energy Matters

With the recent hike is gasoline prices, the all-electric Chevrolet Bolt may become increasingly attractive to car buyers.

Noticed how gasoline prices have dramatically risen this year, around $2.55, $2.59 and even higher in some locations? 

The Lundberg Report, which has been tracking gas costs since the 1970s, stated over the weekend that gas prices increased 9 cents nationwide since last week. Late last December, for example, you could easily buy 87 octane regular for about $2.10—or less. It’s been an uphill climb since the big ball dropped in Times Square.

According to the April 23 edition of The Wall Street Journal, the cruel culprit is the price of crude oil, now approaching $70 a barrel, the highest since 2014. There’s not much relief on the horizon most experts say, as a brisk economy has stimulated demand both here and abroad.

Moreover, the Organization for the Petroleum Exporting Countries, OPEC, and other world-stage players, cut back production to get prices up. Bottom line: The glut is gone and gas prices are unlikely to fall... Continue Reading >>

Santee Cooper is in the driver’s seat of economic development today and tomorrow


February 14, 2018   By Willard Strong in Economic Development
A bit of news from the S.C. Department of Commerce caught my eye this week: The Palmetto State’s economic value of exports in 2017 totaled $32.2 billion.

It’s the eighth straight year that South Carolina set such a record and represented an almost 3 percent increase over 2016. It used to be, for example in Colonial times and thereafter, agricultural products were what we primarily sent overseas. Indigo, rice and cotton in that order, represents that history.

Today, it’s cars and trucks. You know their names: BMW and Mercedes-Benz. In fact, 16 percent of all vehicle exports in this country come from South Carolina and BMW’s share alone is about $8.8 billion representing nearly a quarter-million vehicles.

As you likely know, Volvo Cars is building a manufacturing plant in Berkeley at Camp Hall, a massive industrial campus that Santee Cooper owns and is developing with an array of partners, including Berkeley Electric... 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 >>

Check your holiday lighting before plugging in


November 08, 2017   By Willard Strong in Safety
Santa, reindeer, snow and all things holidays are permeating the airwaves, retail stores and the cyberworld in full force.

Of course, displays at retail outlets have been around for a couple of months now. I know, I know. Why so long before Halloween and Thanksgiving? One advantage to holiday décor out so “early” is that it isn’t picked over. So choices abound.

Let’s talk holiday lighting. It is always a good idea to closely examine your indoor and outdoor lighting for frayed wires, bulbs that don’t work, and other things like that. If they need replacing, now is a good time to do it when selections are good.

LED holiday lights have never been more cost-effective to buy. Look for the ones that are UL (Underwriters Laboratories) approved. That means they’ve been checked out for safety. It’s important to look for the UL symbol when purchasing anything electric.

Another good tip is... Continue Reading >>

No reason not to fully embrace the LED light bulb


October 11, 2017   By Willard Strong in Reduce The Use

LED light bulbs have come down in price dramatically.

If you’ve put off changing out incandescents and/or CFLs to LEDs, the U.S. Department of Energy says LED bulb prices have dropped in price by 85 percent over the last few years!

Now, or the upcoming holiday season is the time to act. Smaller homes have about 20 light bulbs, larger ones about 40. Changing out a 20-bulb house to LEDs costs about $100, or $5 a bulb. To many consumers, that’s a big outlay. Is there a payoff?

According to the June 9, 2017, issue of USA Today, “The longer shelf life of LED lights makes up for the extra expense with savings on your energy bill.”

The Consumer Federation of America stated this past summer that over a 10-year period, switching to LEDs can help consumers save approximately $1,000 over 10 years, which translates to about $8.33 a month.

Choices (dimmable and nondimmable) abound in today’s LED light bulb smorgasbord. Even grocery stores, not just the big-box,... Continue Reading >>