THE PRICE OF ENERGY is vitally important to our quality of life. As electric cooperatives, we have been fighting in Washington D.C. to keep energy affordable for several years.
The overwhelming involvement of our members through our SCTellEPA campaign has shown our government that we are watching. We gave them our opinions and sent them a clear message that we wanted reliable and affordable energy — and they heard us.
As a result of the campaign, the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) final rule for the Clean Power Plan has now included South Carolina’s nuclear plants under construction as part of our process to meet their stringent requirements. That was a real win for South Carolina. But, while the success we had may help minimize energy increases, unfortunately, costs will rise.
Still, it’s a huge improvement over the draft rule first proposed by EPA, which did not give the nuclear units being constructed the same credit for carbon reductions that it gave other non-carbon emitting sources.
Santee Cooper, formally known as the South Carolina Public Service Authority, is a state-owned utility and the primary source of the power distributed by Palmetto Electric and the state’s 19 other independent, consumer-owned electric cooperatives.
Santee Cooper co-owns, with SCE&G, the V.C. Summer Nuclear Generating Station at Jenkinsville in Fairfield County. The state utility and the investor-owned utility are constructing two additional generation units there.
Santee Cooper has been proactively working to reduce emissions through a number of initiatives, such as these new nuclear units, closing of four coal units and adding renewables. Through such efforts, Santee Cooper projects that it will cut CO2 emissions 44 percent by 2030 compared to 2005 levels.
Where credit is due
Palmetto Electric is especially grateful to Congressman James Clyburn, Senator Lindsey Graham and Senator Tim Scott, who listened to our concerns and understood the importance of correctly counting nuclear projects under construction in the state’s emissions-reduction plan. We are also extremely grateful to the members of Palmetto Electric and other South Carolina electric co-ops, and other citizens of the state, who helped us get our message to EPA. Approximately 11,000 Palmetto Electric members commented to EPA regarding this issue.
We need time to fully analyze this final EPA rule and its impact on members, and we will work to minimize the cost to comply as much as we possibly can.
We’ll keep you posted as we determine just how much the EPA rule will affect the cost of electricity. No increase can be good, of course, but thanks to members who made their voices heard, it will not be as steep as it might have been.
Thanks again for your support.