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Santee Cooper’s Utility-Scale Solar Projects Moving Forward

May 09, 2018   By Elizabeth Kress in Energy Matters

Bell Bay Solar’s 2 megawatt array is Santee Cooper’s latest investment in renewable energy.

The Colleton Solar Farm near Walterboro is in its fifth year of production, supplying enough solar for about 300 average households in South Carolina.

In addition to supplying electricity, this project supplied information and data that was used by industry and collegiate groups to develop an understanding of how solar acts in conjunction with power supply and power needs. The project included both fixed panels and single-axis tracking panels, so that data and comparisons were available for both.

On March 1 of this year, another utility-scale project called Bell Bay Solar was completed. It’s located in Horry County, at 6950 U.S. Highway 701 South near Conway. This 2-megawatt, direct-current project was oriented to face southwest. This orientation change shifts the solar generation to peak a little later in the afternoon, so that the tourist-induced summertime electric loads served by Santee Cooper along the nearby Grand Strand are met more... Continue Reading >>

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 >>

Think smart—as in smart thermostat

April 18, 2018   By Jessica Yourko in Reduce The Use

A smart thermostat can help you save money.

My calendar says it is April, but my mind says it just can’t be. The weather seems to be all over the place this month.

As soon as we have a couple of warm days and I start putting away my winter wardrobe, cold weather sneaks back in.

Trying to keep the people in my house as comfortable as they can be, temperature wise, and keeping an eye on my actual energy consumption and electric bill has almost become a full-time job. If I only had my “smart” thermostat installed already it could do that for me.

What’s the difference between thermostats anyway?

A regular thermostat is one that allows you to manually adjust the temperature of your heating and air conditioning system. Basically, it serves as a control panel for your unit. A programmable thermostat allows you to control your unit by the time of day and day of the week.  Who doesn’t want to be warm and toasty, or cool and comfy, when they... Continue Reading >>

Cheers to 10 years of Green Power with RBC Heritage

April 11, 2018   By Nicole Aiello in Green Power
What an exciting week! The weather is beautiful and the sun is shining on Harbour Town Golf Links on Hilton Head Island. And we’re celebrating an impressive milestone … the RBC Heritage Presented by Boeing is celebrating a decade of going green with Green Power.

It started with a promise 10 years ago – a promise to be excellent environmental stewards. Since then, every drive, chip and putt has been powered by 100 percent Green Power, generated by Santee Cooper and delivered to RBC Heritage by our friends at Palmetto Electric Cooperative.

RBC Heritage will purchase Santee Cooper Green Power from Palmetto Electric for the duration of the 2018 tournament, which is taking place now. 

I’ve been lucky enough to join Heritage and PEC at the tournament, giving away Green Power information at the booth on the Heritage Lawn. It’s a real treat to see how well people respond when they learn about the Green Power... Continue Reading >>

Defining “wetland” proves elusive

April 04, 2018   By Jay Hudson in Environmental Stewardship

What is or is not a wetland continues to be debated and litigated.

Defining “wetland” proves elusive

In 2015, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers issued a rule to redefine “waters of the United States” that could include dry stream beds and perhaps ditches that contain water and flow into other water bodies. I wrote a blog on this a few years back.

What was at question in 2015 was what was a considered a “water of the U.S.” and what was not. At the turn of the 20 th century, a water of the U.S. was clear: It was generally considered lakes, rivers and territorial seas---water bodies that contain water most if not all of the time. The definition began to get murky when the government began to regulate swampy areas otherwise known as wetlands in the 1970s. Don’t get me wrong. Wetlands are an indispensable part of our ecosystem. Wetlands store runoff and provide important habitat for unique species. Swampy wetland areas deserve protection as... Continue Reading >>

Linemen: Powering and Saving Lives

March 28, 2018   By Susan Mungo in Community

Lineworkers resotoring power near St. Stephen after Hurricane Matthew in 2016.

Linemen from across the state recently gathered in at Horry Georgetown Technical College (HGTC) in Conway to compete against one another. This is an annual event and this year was sponsored by Santee Cooper along with The Electric Cooperatives of South Carolina and hosted by HGTC.

For more than 20 years it has been known as the lineworker’s rodeo . But if you have ever known a lineman and if you have ever seen one in action, you know this was more than a competition; this was a gathering of individuals who love what they do, have real respect for one another and put their lives on the line daily to make ours more comfortable.

I have known many linemen in my life and most have one thing in common, they absolutely love what they do. I love to ask them why they became a lineman. They say everything from “it is what I wanted since I was little” to “the minute I put those hooks on I was hooked!”

Whether it is... Continue Reading >>