Green Power is renewable energy produced in South Carolina using in-state resources. Santee Cooper produces 28 megawatts of Green Power from landfill methane gas, which occurs from naturally decomposing garbage, as well as from solar and wind energy.
To observe Green Power’s 10th birthday, Santee Cooper officials planted live oak trees at Green Power Solar Schools in Sangaree and Myrtle Beach and partnered with the state’s electric cooperatives in live oak plantings at other Solar Schools around the state.
“We’ve come a long way in 10 years, from our first 2-MW generating station here in Horry County to a portfolio of Green Power that crisscrosses South Carolina,” said Santee Cooper President and CEO Lonnie Carter. Carter spoke at the tree-planting at Myrtle Beach Middle School. “A lot of that success is because of our customers, who are voluntarily purchasing Green Power each month at a premium of $3 per 100 kilowatt-hours. All that money is reinvested in new renewable energy projects, including this Solar School and the Grand Strand Solar Station also here in Myrtle Beach.”
In the past decade, Santee Cooper has generated approximately 580,000 megawatt-hours of Green Power and sold 163,559 MWhs of that to customers. Those Green Power sales are equivalent in today’s terms to the electricity needed to power nearly 15,000 average American homes for one year or avoid the annual carbon dioxide emissions of more than 24,000 vehicles. (Source: EPA 2011: e-Grid Version 1.1 SEVC Subregion System Average).
“With the help and support of our electric cooperative partners, Santee Cooper has really pushed the needle on renewable energy in South Carolina. We have a track record we can be proud of, one that has benefits for our customers and the state,” said Bill McCall, executive vice president and chief operating officer. McCall spoke at a tree-planting at Sangaree Middle School, a Green Power Solar School supported by Berkeley Electric Cooperative.
Ten years ago today, Santee Cooper dedicated the state’s first Green Power Generating Station, at the Horry County Landfill, which began generating in September 2001. Since then, additional landfill generating stations have opened in Lee, Richland, Anderson, Georgetown and Berkeley counties. Santee Cooper solar generation comes from facilities at Coastal Carolina University, Technical College of the Lowcountry and the Grand Strand Solar Station; the Solar Schools are demonstration projects and the solar power is used by the schools. A small wind turbine in North Myrtle Beach contributes wind energy to the Green Power mix.
Most of Santee Cooper’s Green Power generating stations are on cooperative distribution systems, one example of the successful partnership. The cooperatives also promote Green Power to their own customers, who also purchase the voluntary blocks each month. Through that network, Santee Cooper Green Power is reaching South Carolinians in every county of the state.
“Santee Cooper remains committed to providing South Carolina with power that is reliable, affordable and environmentally protective,” Carter added. “We continue to develop Green Power and other renewable energy that makes sense for our customers and is good for South Carolina.”
Green Power is nationally certified to meet strict standards and is part of Santee Cooper’s larger renewable energy portfolio, with 184 MWs overall online or under contract.
Santee Cooper is South Carolina’s state-owned electric and water utility, and the state’s largest power producer. The ultimate source of electricity for 2 million South Carolinians, Santee Cooper is dedicated to being the state’s leading resource for improving the quality of life for the people of South Carolina. For more information, visit www.santeecooper.com.