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

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

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

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 Cooperative and Edisto Electric Cooperative. Santee Cooper is proud of our role providing the site, as well as grants and loans that helped seal the deal. Before the year is out, the Volvo S60 sedan will be rolling off a sparkling new assembly line.

It’s what we’ve been doing for more than eight decades. Our first flow of power in 1942 went to an industrial customer in North Charleston, a national defense-related metals manufacturer. Although that customer is no longer around around, today we serve a steel plant and an aluminum plant that provide good-paying jobs in Berkeley County.

No matter where you live in South Carolina or which electric utility serves you, you are one of the 5 million owners of Santee Cooper. It’s the people’s power company that also manages the state’s largest freshwater resource: lakes Marion and Moultrie.

For more information on how Santee Cooper is #PoweringSC, click here.

Author Willard Strong

Willard Strong

Willard joined Corporate Communications in 1989 after a four-year stint as a features reporter at The Post and Courier. A 1981 graduate of USC’s College of Journalism and Mass Communications, the Kingstree native has served as news director at three radio stations, was editor of the weekly newspaper in Moncks Corner and is chairman of the Berkeley County Museum and Heritage Center Board of Directors. A boating enthusiast, he enjoys Gamecock football, lake life on Lake Marion’s Wyboo Creek and keeping his five guitars in tune.