Santee Cooper Turns Coal Ash Into Economic Opportunity
Facts ARE Facts
Santee Cooper has always focused on providing value to our customers and to the state of South Carolina. That holds true even in how we address coal ash, which scores wins on the environmental, economic and customer fronts.
We’ve already reduced our dependency on coal generation in favor of more natural gas, solar and renewable biomass. We’ve also been recognized as a leader for addressing coal ash ponds. We even hosted a crew from CBS Evening News back in 2014.
Santee Cooper is excavating for beneficial use (recycling) ash that was stored in ponds at four generating stations, providing it as a raw material to the cement industry. This removes the ash from the ponds, it creates jobs and supports manufacturing, and it is cost-effective and so benefits customers.
Santee Cooper has excavated more than 3 million tons of ash since announcing this program in late 2013. And while some criticism we’ve received in recent months is understandable, disparagement about our approach to coal and its byproducts is simply unenlightened. We are proud of this innovative approach and what we’ve accomplished to help the environment, economy and our customers.
- FACT: Santee Cooper has recycled dry fly and bottom ash since the 1970s for use as a raw material by the cement and concrete industry. Our ash has been used in many South Carolina road and construction projects, including Charleston’s Ravenel Bridge.
- FACT: On May 6, 2019, Santee Cooper hauled out the last truckload of pond ash that was stored at the former Grainger Generating Station near Conway. In total, we have hauled over 1.7 million tons of ash out of the two ponds at Grainger alone, with 1.1 million tons of this ash going to the cement industry for beneficial use.
- FACT: We also recycle gypsum, a byproduct from environmental controls on our coal units. Santee Cooper’s gypsum has been beneficially used as an agriculture amendment to improve peanut production, in the cement industry, and in the drywall industry. American Gypsum recycles our material in the drywall it makes at the plant it built in Georgetown specifically for this purpose and because of our gypsum production and contract with that company. The plant employs nearly 100 people.
You get the point. Santee Cooper is a leader in taking waste byproducts from coal generation, disposing of them in a manner that environmentalists praise, and fueling small businesses and jobs at the same time. We are an innovator and committed environmental steward.
And that is a FACT.