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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 >>

The Green Power story continues


November 01, 2017   By Elizabeth Kress in Green Energy

Santee Cooper’s Horry Landfill Generating Station is located near Conway at the county’s landfill and was Santee Cooper’s first landfill gas facility, opening in 2001.

Santee Cooper’s Green Power story began when Horry County officials approached Santee Cooper about using its landfill gas to produce electricity.

The technology to do this involves using wells with perforated pipe to draw the gas out of the landfill and onto an engine or turbine which generates electricity. It took more than five years to work out an arrangement to develop the first landfill site, which became operational in September 2001.

At the same time, the public’s interest in renewable energy sources surged. In 2001, Santee Cooper certified the process by which landfill gas produced electricity to the exacting standards of Green-e Energy, and began to offer Green Power for sale to customers who want a greener or reduced-carbon option for their electricity. Santee Cooper pledged to use the proceeds of these sales to build more renewable generation.

Since that time, five more landfills have been developed into electricity... Continue Reading >>

Fall Prep Winter Ready


October 25, 2017   By Jessica Yourko in Energy Matters

Energy “vampires” won’t be lurking about just around Halloween. They’re year-round energy stealers. Prevent them by unplugging appliances not in use.

It’s that time, the time when everything smells like pumpkin spice and when the weather seems to be having an identity crisis.

Just last week, I needed my a/c when I crawled into bed and my heat to crawl back out.

Talk about confusing. My kids don’t know whether to wear sweaters and boots to school or T-shirts and sandals. All I can say is welcome to our kind of fall.

As much as I complain about fall, it does have a good side though. It is a dress rehearsal for the next season.  It gives us a chance make sure we are ready for old man winter. Here are a few fall tips to get you ready:

Check for leaks and cracks around doors and windows.  Frosty fall mornings make drafty areas easier to spot. Replace old weather-stripping around doors. In the mornings, open your curtains and let the sun shine in. Warm your home without having to turn up the heat. During the day, raise the windows and feel the breeze. ... Continue Reading >>

This is hiking weather


October 18, 2017   By Nicole Aiello in Community

Old Santee Canal Park in the fall is a great place to rent a canoe and paddle Biggin Creek.

The sweltering, humid summer temperatures have passed and, in their wake, the glorious days of fall have arrived. I was practically giddy yesterday I opened my windows after work.

Cooler autumn temperatures always inspire me to enjoy the outdoors before winter arrives. Old Santee Canal Park is one of the places where I revel in nature and enjoy the cooler weather. The park has a 4-mile network of boardwalks and trails that meander beside and over the serene backwaters of Biggin Creek. You can hike your way around the park’s 195 acres, taking in the sights and sounds of the Lowcountry.

Along your hike, you’ll see natural limestone bluffs and what remains of the Santee Canal that was completed in the year 1800. Fox, squirrels, butterflies, egrets, warblers, herons, owls, lizards and other animals may be your companions on your hike. You also can rent a canoe to explore the 3-mile paddle trail that immerses you in a cypress swamp that wood ducks,... 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 >>

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 >>