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Showing posts by author Willard Strong  Show all posts >

Going nuclear


September 03, 2015   By Willard Strong in Energy Matters
Santee Cooper has been strategically and proactively working to reduce emissions through a number of initiatives, including closing four coal units at Jefferies and Grainger generating stations, adding renewables , providing customers with rebate-centered energy efficiency programs — and constructing new nuclear units. 

The October 2012 announcement to retire the Jefferies and Grainger generating stations marked the first time in Santee Cooper's 70-year generating history that it slated a baseload facility for decommissioning. Not much lasts forever in this world, and Jefferies and Grainger were reliable performers that served our customers well, beginning in the 1950s.

The decision to build baseload generation is one of the most important — if not the most important — decision an electric utility makes. Constructing a power plant requires planning, permitting and sometimes, perseverance.

There are challenges along... Continue Reading >>

A snappy guide to a healthy heat-pump filter


July 22, 2015   By Willard Strong in Reduce The Use
Raise your hand if it seems your heat pump's been staying on more this summer.

Yeah, my hand's up too.

Since it's too hot to go anywhere, this latest heat wave is a good time to check the indoor air filter on your heat pump. (Your system may have more than one.) If your heat pump's running more than normal, it means the filter is clogging up quicker, which means the heat pump is working harder, which means it isn't working as efficiently, which means increased power usage.

No one needs that.

Deciding on the type of filter for your heat pump isn't easy — another example of life presenting so many product choices. Allergy sufferers may opt to spend a little more on a filter that removes allergens like dust and pet dander from the air, while there are plenty of consumers who are perfectly fine with spending the bare minimum.

It's important to remember that the more effective a filter is, the likelier it... Continue Reading >>

"Valkommen, y'all"


June 10, 2015   By Willard Strong in Economic Development
I distinctly remember the first time I rode in a Volvo, and thinking how exotic it seemed.

It was 1972 when I was 17, working on a presidential election campaign from an abandoned storefront in my hometown. Every week for about a month or so, a man named Jeff would come from out of town and check up on how us volunteers were doing with our grassroots campaigning.

Jeff drove a dark green Volvo four door, a 144 model I think. It was one of the first Volvos I remember. I rode in it one time and knew it was a pretty rare ride for a small South Carolina town. And I knew it was made in Sweden, a faraway place across the Atlantic. It had a four-speed manual transmission and was boxy, of course, as all Volvos were back then.

Except for the one Leonard drove to school. Leonard was the local banker's son and a year younger than I. He and his sister, Marge, often drove into the student parking in a red Volvo P1800 , a late 1960s model. It reminded... Continue Reading >>

When convenience is costly


April 29, 2015   By Willard Strong in Reduce The Use
Santee Cooper routinely communicates to customers how to use electricity more efficiently.

There are so many ways to conserve energy, from buying energy-efficient appliances to installing CFL or LED light bulbs, or by simply telling your kids to turn off the lights when leaving a room.

Then there are the more subtle ways that may require you to drill down a little deeper to realize savings. For example, unplugging electronic devices when not in regular use is an effective way to attack "phantom power" robbers — things that are in "stand-by" mode but still use electricity. Usage can add up over the year, costing you in the pocketbook.

One example I've run across is the now widespread popularity of single-serve coffee or hot-beverage makers. They're all the rage, but as is the case with many things in modern life, convenience comes with a price that may be a lot more than you think.

The single server is like the... Continue Reading >>

Remembering John Rainey


March 18, 2015   By Willard Strong in Santee Cooper History
The major printed news outlets in the state noted the March 14 passing of John Stringer Rainey, who served as chairman of the Santee Cooper Board of Directors from 1990 to 2000.

I had the privilege of getting to know Chairman Rainey during his service as chairman, and the more time I got to spend around him the more I grew to admire and respect him. He was a man of character and principle — and those principles would sometimes put him on a collision course with the status quo. In many ways, he was a rebel. I've long viewed him as such and wondered what he would think of that characterization.

Rainey was an Anderson native, the son of a physician. He attended McCallie School, an exclusive prep school in Chattanooga, Tenn. He told me his roommate was Carroll Campbell, the future South Carolina governor.

The young Rainey attended the University of Virginia and then the University of South Carolina School of Law. He later served as an... Continue Reading >>