BECAUSE ELECTRIC CO-OPS are owned by their members, we are integral parts of the communities we serve. One example is Palmetto Electric Cooperative’s commitment to economic development.
As with so many things in the co-op world, it’s a team effort. Palmetto Electric, South Carolina’s 19 other independent electric co-ops and our state-owned power provider, Santee Cooper, work together to promote economic growth through the SC Power Team. Along with the state Department of Commerce, the SC Power Team promotes economic development across the state.
Co-ops provide industry incentive rates as well as loan and grant programs to encourage job creation. A host of energy-related services are also available to ensure the highest power quality.
Palmetto Electric and other co-ops also help strengthen the infrastructure for industrial parks, such as roads, water and sewer with funding made possible by the Rural Development Act (RDA). More than $68 million from South Carolina’s electric co-ops has been used for infrastructure since the 1996 passage of the RDA. More than $5 million in RDA monies— which otherwise would have gone directly into state tax coffers—has been invested in local infrastructure projects by Palmetto Electric.
In Hampton County, for instance, Palmetto Electric has used RDA funds for improvements at the Southern Carolina Commerce Park (a.k.a. the mega site). In Jasper County, we helped develop the Cypress Ridge Business Park, home to the Brown-Campbell Company, Be Green Packaging LLC, Tico Manufacturing and Ohio Grating. In Beaufort County, we are supporting up-fits for a spec building at the Myrtle Park Development. In Bluffton, we’re helping create shovel-ready sites at the Buckwalter Place Multi County Business/Industrial Park, home of CareCore National.
As we mark 75 years of service, we see our economic development work as a modern expression of the rural electrification program’s original goal: to improve the quality of life of all members of our co-op.