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Revival of Retired Coal Plant as Natural Gas Station Sparks Debate across South Carolina

Coal plant conversion debate.

Revival of Retired Coal Plant as Natural Gas Station Sparks Debate across South Carolina

Proposed Natural Gas Power Generation Station

In Colleton County, a retired coal-fired power plant may be resurrected in the coming decade. Dominion Energy and Santee Cooper, who would jointly operate the plant, propose to utilize it as a natural gas-powered energy generation station, on the site where it previously served as a coal-powered facility. Although just in the proposal stage, both utilities have state regulators’ approval to forge ahead as per their 2023 comprehensive plans.

“This power plant will allow us to retire three coal-fired units we currently use. That’s a cleaner energy alternative which is a pressing requirement for us,” stated Keller Kissam, Dominion Energy South Carolina’s president.

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New Bill on The Horizon

A new bill to set up a natural gas plant at the defunct Canadys station, also situated in Colleton County, is currently under consideration by state lawmakers. The bill is a direct response to the state’s proliferating growth demands, and its sponsors believe it to be a ten-year plan.

“This bill aims at ensuring reliable present and future generation to cater to the expected surge in demand,” remarked one of the bill’s sponsors, Rep. Jay West.

Concerns Voiced Over the Project

Certain quarters have voiced their concern over these developments. Groups like the Conservation Voters of South Carolina (CVSC) fret how the project will impact the environment, considering its proximity to the Edisto River. These groups fear potential harm to the local drinking water and nearby ecosystems.

Another bone of contention lies in the project’s undisclosed cost with many worried about the hasty legislative approval without proper oversight. John Brooker, CVSC’s energy policy director, feared this project might bypass a thorough review by the Public Service Commission, the entity mandated with project vetting.

Reducing Emissions and Supporting Renewable Energy

Dominion Energy, however, already operates two similar natural gas plants in the state. The company state president asserts that the introduction of another plant will lower emissions from three existing coal-powered units while supporting more renewable energy varieties.

“Present industrial customers are the best form of economic development. We strive to reduce our footprint as much as we can,” Kissam responded. He added that the plant could potentially begin operations around 2030, subject to approval.


Revival of Retired Coal Plant as Natural Gas Station Sparks Debate across South Carolina

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