New Solar Will Save Customers $12 Million Annually
MONCKS CORNER, S.C. – The Santee Cooper Board of Directors today authorized the utility’s management to execute contracts for Santee Cooper’s share of up to 500 megawatts (MW) of new, utility-scale solar power projects which, when installed, will yield $12 million in annual savings for customers.
“Santee Cooper is committed to a leaner, greener power supply that provides the best prices and benefits for our customers,” said Santee Cooper President and CEO Mark Bonsall. “Along with the environmental advantages of solar power, these solar contracts provide price certainty for the life of the contracts. This is additionally valuable as a hedge against any rise in natural gas or other commodity prices over the next two decades.”
Santee Cooper and its largest customer, Central Electric Power Cooperative, issued a request for proposals (RFP) in June and have reviewed the 21 responses to determine the projects with the best savings and benefits for customers. Of the 500 MW, Santee Cooper’s share is 27.5% and Central’s is 72.5%, in accordance with the load ratio.
The Board’s approval marks a significant step in transforming Santee Cooper’s power supply, as detailed in the utility’s 2020 Resource Plan, and is part of a 1,500 MW solar expansion. The Resource Plan, as outlined in Santee Cooper’s Reform Plan and recently updated, projects a 55% average reduction in carbon emissions in the 2030s over 2005 levels.
The revised Resource Plan also includes more purchased natural gas-fueled power and would provide a Santee Cooper energy mix in the 2030s of 20% economy purchases, 19% sustainable resources (primarily solar), 19% coal, 15% new natural gas, 15% existing gas (Rainey Generating Station), 10% nuclear, and 2% other.