South Carolina Electric & Gas Company

From Global Energy Monitor

South Carolina Electric & Gas Company (SCE&G) is a regulated public utility and the principal subsidiary of SCANA Corporation, a $12 billion Fortune 500 energy-based holding company whose businesses include regulated electric and natural gas utility operations, telecommunications, and other non-regulated energy-related businesses. SCE&G generates, transmits, distributes, and sells electricity to approximately 661,000 retail and wholesale customers in a service area covering more than 15,000 square miles in the central, southern, and southwestern portions of South Carolina. The company is also engaged in the purchase and sale of natural gas, primarily at retail, to approximately 291,000 customers in a service area covering more than 22,000 square miles in central and southern South Carolina.[1]

Existing Coal Plants

Fossil-fired plants account for approximately 45 percent of SCE&G's electric generation capacity:[2]

Plant State Year(s) Built Capacity
Canadys Station SC 1962, 1964, 1967 420 MW
Cope Station SC 1996 430 MW
McMeekin Station SC 1958 250 MW
Savannah River D-Area Power House SC 1952 78.2 MW
Urquhart Station SC 1955 650 MW
Wateree Station SC 1970, 1971 685 MW
Cogen South Power Plant SC 1999 99 MW

May 2012: Retirement and fuel conversion plans announced

On May 30, 2012, SCANA subsidiary SCE&G announced plans to retire up to six coal-fired generating units at three locations by the end of 2018. The units range in age from 45 to 57 years and are the utility's oldest and smallest coal-fired units. The announcement included the following:[3]

  • Retirement of Unit 1 at the Canadys Station by the end of 2012
  • Switching Unit 3 at the Urquhart Station from coal to natural gas by the end of 2012
  • Planned switching of Units 1 and 2 at the McMeekin Station (both units) and Units 2 and 3 at the Canadys Station from coal to natural gas by 2015
  • Planned retirement of the remaining two units (Units 2 and 3) at Canadys by the end of 2017
  • Planned retirement of both Units 1 and 2 at the McMeekin Station by the end of 2018
  • Planned retirement of Unit 3 at Urquhart by the end of 2018

Coal supply

In the 2010 annual report filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, SCANA stated that "coal is obtained through long-term supply contracts and spot market purchases. Long-term contracts exist with suppliers located in eastern Kentucky, Tennessee and West Virginia. These contracts provide for approximately 4.0 million tons annually, which is substantially all expected coal purchases for 2011. Sulfur restrictions on the contract coal range from 1% to 2%. These contracts expire at various times through 2014. Spot market purchases are expected to continue when needed or when prices are believed to be favorable."[4]

History

SCG&E was one of the earliest forms of what is now SCANA Corporation. In 1846 local South Carolina business leaders came together to form the Charleston Gas Light Company, later Columbia Gas Light Company. Several small electric utilities emerged in the late 1800s and early 1900s and merged in the 1920s. In 1924, the Broad River Power Company organized as a subsidiary of General Gas & Electric Corporation and immediately set out on a construction program to add electric generating capacity. In 1937, the Broad River Power Company changed its name to South Carolina Electric & Gas Company. It remains SCANA's principal subsidiary.[5]

Nuclear Plants

Proposed plants

SCE&G has proposed building two new reactors at its existing nuclear facility in Jenkinsville. The company says the new reactors, which would cost $9.8 billion, could provide enough energy to power some 1.9 million homes. The plan is opposed by Friends of the Earth, the Sierra Club of South Carolina, and the Southern Energy Network, who argue for cheaper, cleaner alternatives. According to the Miami Herald, South Carolina law allows electric companies to raise rates to help finance the construction of new nuclear facilities. SCE&G has proposed a 37-percent increase in rates phased in through 2019 to help pay for the two new reactors.[6] In February 2009 SCG&E received approval for the plants from South Carolina Public Service Commission.[7]

Report: SCE&G's nuclear plants not replacing coal

A 2011 report by NC Warn, "New Nuclear Power is Ruining Climate Protection Efforts and Harming Customers", argues that companies like South Carolina Electric & Gas Company have said they want to lead the way to a “low carbon” future by building more nuclear power plants, but instead of replacing their coal-burning plants with nuclear power, the companies "plan to keep operating most or all of their coal plants indefinitely, while adding more nuclear (and fossil fuel) plants so they can expand electricity sales both within and outside the region."

The report states that "South Carolina Electric & Gas plans to increase generating capacity by a net 1,128 MW from 2010 to 2025. Of the new capacity, 1,228 MW would come from new nuclear generation based on SCE&G’s 55% ownership of two new AP1000 units that are also in pre-licensing construction at the V.C. Summer plant. Meanwhile, SCE&G projects to close 300 MW of older coal units."[8]

Coal lobbying

South Carolina Electric & Gas is a member of the American Coal Ash Association (ACAA), an umbrella lobbying group for all coal ash interests that includes major coal burners Duke Energy, Southern Company and American Electric Power as well as dozens of other companies. The group argues that the so-called "beneficial-use industry" would be eliminated if a "hazardous" designation was given for coal ash waste.[9]

ACAA set up a front group called Citizens for Recycling First, which argues that using toxic coal ash as fill in other products is safe, despite evidence to the contrary.[9]

Permit Issues

On March 8, 2010 it was announced that the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control agreed to eliminate arsenic limits in a wastewater discharge permit for South Carolina Electric & Gas Company's (SCE&G) Wateree Station. SCE&G needs State approval for its coal ash ponds because wastewater from the site runs directly into the Wateree River. The ponds take waste from the company's 40-year-old coal-fired plant. Since the 1990s, high levels of arsenic, a carcinogen, have been found in groundwater and in seepage to the Wateree River from coal ash ponds at the power plant. Sierra Club and other environmental groups are posing to fight the permit on the grounds that arsenic ought not be eliminated.[10]

Contact Information

SCE&G
Columbia SC 29218
Phone: 800-251-7234
Website: http://www.sceg.com/

Articles and Resources

Sources

  1. "About SCE&G" SCE&G Website, March 2011.
  2. "SCE&G Fossil Fired plants" SCE&G Website, accessed April 2011.
  3. "SCE&G Announces Plans to Retire a Portion of its Coal-fired Generation," SCE&G press release, May 30, 2012
  4. SCANA Corporation, Annual Report 2010", U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, March 1, 2011.
  5. "SCANA Corporation History" SCANA Website, September 2009.
  6. "Nuke plan embarks on week-long grilling" Greenbang, December 1, 2008
  7. "SCE&G`s New Nuclear Plans Approved by Public Service Commission of South Carolina" Reuters, February 11, 2009
  8. Jim Warren, "New Nuclear Power is Ruining Climate Protection Efforts and Harming Customers" NC Warn, 2011 Report.
  9. 9.0 9.1 Coal-Fired Utilities to American Public: Kiss my Ash DeSmogBlog.com & PolluterWatch, October 27, 2010.
  10. "DHEC loosens arsenic limit for SCEandG: Discharge from utility's plant feeds into Wateree River" Sammy Fretwell, RenewableBiz.com, March 8, 2010

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