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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 >>

The forecast is sunny, with lower costs already here


October 04, 2017   By Elizabeth Kress in Green Energy

The cost of solar panels continues to decline.

The solar photovoltaics (PV) industry has seen cost reductions and other milestones much faster than expected.

The U.S. Department of Energy developed its SunShot program to drive down the cost of solar electricity and support solar adoption. For utility-scale solar, the 2020 goal of 6 cents per kilowatt-hour Levelized Cost of Energy (LCOE) was recently reached three years early.

This LCOE does not include any federal, state or local incentives. The average levelized price of purchased-power agreements signed in 2016 was approximately $35 per megawatt-hour, although there is some chance that module pricing and other issues could keep a portion of those projects from being built.

Nationally, there are 47 gigawatts (GW) of solar installed in the U.S.  In South Carolina at the end of 2016, 25 megawatts (MW) were installed, which includes 12 MW of residential, 10 MW of utility-scale and 3 MW of other solar. Looking around at our neighboring... Continue Reading >>

A Bird in the Hand


September 27, 2017   By Susan Mungo in
Santee Cooper’s Board of Directors approved an agreement on Sept. 27 to sell the monetary rights to our portion of the $2.168 billion Toshiba Guaranty Settlement Claim to Citibank, N.A. This is a good move and will benefit customers and other stakeholders.

The agreement completely shifts the risk away from Santee Cooper and customers of collecting those dollars from Toshiba over the next five years, which was part of the terms of the Toshiba Guaranty Settlement Claim. It also means Santee Cooper will receive $831.2 million right away, for its 45 percent share.

The agreement does not include the first-scheduled payment from Toshiba of $150 million, of which Santee Cooper’s share is $67.5 million. That payment is expected on Oct. 1. Combining the agreement with Citibank and the first-scheduled payment from Toshiba, Santee Cooper will receive $898.7 million. 

You may wonder how this provides stability or good news other than... Continue Reading >>

Have a “planned outage” this fall and replace your old, inefficient heat pump


September 20, 2017   By Willard Strong in Reduce The Use

Proper heat pump installation is key to energy efficiency and that’s why Santee Cooper has a list of Trade Allies that can meet a customer’s heating and cooling needs.

Santee Cooper’s job, first and foremost, is to generate reliable electric power 24 hours a day, seven days a week, at the lowest cost possible. We’ve been doing that since 1942, and today serve nearly 180,000 commercial and residential customers in Berkeley, Georgetown and Horry counties.

But just like people, the generating equipment that works hard to make that power needs a break every now and then. That’s why during the fall and spring, Santee Cooper and most other utilities have what are known as “planned outages.” They’re done when the weather is typically mild, when demand for power is relatively low. During this downtime, maintenance and needed repairs are done to generating equipment that you, the customer, depend on.

As summer officially transitions into fall on Sept. 22, milder weather and the hints of autumn might be the perfect time to consider replacing your electric heat pump with a more energy efficient... Continue Reading >>

Don’t be a hurricane statistic


September 13, 2017   By Willard Strong in Safety

A portable generator can come in handy in the aftermath of severe weather, but remember to follow manufacturer’s instructions for safe use.

Another weather event has come and gone and with it, the humanitarian toll that a hurricane or tropical storm typically brings.

Sadly, there are fatalities with bad weather. We should all learn how to stay safe when it comes to storms and preparing for them.

Generator Safety: One man died when a gasoline-powered generator was being operated in a garage, apparently with the door closed. A man died of carbon monoxide poisoning. Never, ever operate a generator, lawn mower, automobile or any internal combustion engine in an enclosed area. Even with the garage door open, one can be overcome by fumes.

A lot of generators were sold leading up to Irma. Undoubtedly, many buyers had no experience with generators. It’s very important to read the manual and think safety when using a generator. For example, be careful when fueling them. Do it outside, away from your house, and keep gasoline away from an open flame, including cigarettes or a gas, or... Continue Reading >>

From Power Plant to Peanut Production


September 06, 2017   By Susan Jackson in Environmental Stewardship

Gypsum produced at a Santee Cooper generating station is applied to peanut plants at a farm in Orangeburg County.

Synthetic gypsum is formed when fossil-fueled power plants use their flue-gas desulfurization (FGD) systems to remove sulfur dioxide from the stack gases.

Using a process referred to as “scrubbing,” stack gases are fed through calcium carbonate (i.e. limestone) to eliminate impurities and environmental concerns. When the sulfur dioxide is removed, synthetic gypsum is formed.

The majority of the synthetic gypsum at Santee Cooper’s Cross Generating Station was dewatered and trucked to a wallboard facility where it is used to make drywall. However, some of the synthetic gypsum wasn’t able to be dewatered so it had been sent to a lined wastewater pond.

In 2016, Santee Cooper began excavating this quality gypsum from the pond and stacking it in large stockpiles. After allowing it to dry naturally and extensive testing, it was decided that this gypsum could be used for agriculture. After receiving approval from the S.C.... Continue Reading >>