Midlands environmentalists gird for battle

This just in from Bob Wislinski:

Conservation organizations from
across the state will gather in Columbia Thursday, October 25, 11 AM in the SC Wildlife Federation conference room at Middleburg
Office Plaza (Kittrell Bldg. –
directions attached)
to announce opposition to Santee Cooper’s proposed coal plant in

Several weeks ago, the SC Electric
Cooperatives released new studies showing conservation and renewable energy
savings possible within their systems over the next 10 years. The Electric Coops
are state-owned utility Santee Cooper’s largest customers. Last week and in the
face of mounting criticism of their Pee
coal plant proposal, Santee-Cooper
announced new internal long-term energy conservation programs too.

Yet Santee-Cooper still insists that
its controversial 1320 MW Pee Dee pulverized coal plant is needed.

studies by the cooperatives contradict Santee-Cooper’s assertions about the
essential need for the coal plant. This comparative and statistically valid case
against the coal plant has never been publicly presented in this

Groups represented at the Conference
will include: Coastal Conservation League, Environmental Defense, Conservation
Voters of South Carolina, SC Sierra Club, SC Wildlife Federation,
for Clean Energy and Southern
Environmental Law Center.

… which reminds me. The co-ops came in to see us Monday about their studies, and I haven’t posted anything yet, because it was a lot of stuff to digest. I’ll get to it soon.


3 thoughts on “Midlands environmentalists gird for battle

  1. Mike Cakora

    My takeis that this is powerful poop.
    The studies seem to say that renewables are not a great bet here, but gains from energy efficiency are pretty good. Without access to the marketing and other data, I can’t see where the studies present even a mild argument against a new generation plant for Santee-Cooper, especially if folks want to attract industry to the areas served.
    Even if everyone served by Santee-Cooper power went 99% CFL (installing compact fluorescent lights in place of incandescent) next week (CFL is listed as the #1 source for saving electricity), that would mean savings during periods when households use lighting (commercial and industrial lighting is probably 75% fluorescent now), meaning that peak usage periods — daylight hours on hot days — would not benefit.
    So they will oversell the “maximum achievable cost-effective potential savings” of 20 percent from the efficiency study summary by ignoring that the lower end of doing a whole bunch of things could be 4%. Wanna bet that to beat up Santee-Cooper a bit they’ll ignore the caveats in the renewables study too?
    I have the full treatment over at my blog.

  2. Mattheus Mei

    I think it’s amazing that the customers of Santee Cooper, the electric coops, are siding with the convservationists. I understand that South Carolina faces a lot of growth over the next few years, but I’m not sure that building a coal plant is the solution. Where’s the legislative initiative to encourage – 1)upgrading existing structures to become more energy effecient through tax breaks like the state offers for buying hybrid vehicles 2) mandating a new green standard for new structures being built? and more importantly 3) strongly encouraging the state’s utilities to pursue more green efforts within the state. (I’m reminded of the upcoming rate hike for SCE&G, who I’ve corresponded with and have no intention of producing “green” energy within the state, rather investing in windmills in Texas, what good does that benefit South Carolina?)

  3. Mike Cakora

    Mattheus Mei –
    I think that the greens are trying to get the public to think that the co-ops are on their side; that’s not the case. Per the reports, the maximum achievable cost-effective potential savings is 20 percent but may be as little as 4%. See my blog entry
    The one report states that renewables are not cost-effective to make a significant difference for SC given project growth. Biomass brings its own pollution, there’s not enough wind for windmills to be reliable and cost-effective, etc. Small-scale projects are possible and likely, but large scale doesn’t work. Texas and California have areas where wind is reliable and cost-effective; we don’t. Utilities are building windmills where it makes sense.
    Tighter codes for new construction are a good idea, but you’re still adding consumption and increasing costs depending on the severity of the code. Upgrading existing structures is a good idea, that’s what I’m doing in on my 50-year-old house. But it’s expensive with a long payback: I paid $11K for HVAC that will break even in ten years though energy savings. That’s in addition to storm windows, insulation, etc. In a poor state where almost 18% of single-family homes are mobile homes, you’re going have political blowback.
    Also automakers are working on plug-ins again. Such vehicles will be powered by drawing energy from the grid; some additional capacity will be needed to charge them.


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