South Carolina conservationists are urging state leaders to pursue a “no-regrets” energy strategy that they say would lower electricity bills and create thousands more jobs in the Palmetto State.
Coastal Conservation League energy director Hamilton Davis said consumers need to come first. “We need to put South Carolina ratepayers first by lowering electricity bills through efficiency and affordable renewable power,” he told South Carolina Radio Network.
The federal Clean Power Plan announced by the Obama Administration on Monday requires South Carolina and other states to reduce carbon emissions from power generation plants by more than a third within 15 years. South Carolina has already reduced carbon emissions from its electricity sector by over 30% since 2005, and alternative energy groups say the state is poised to get deeper reductions by attaining efficiency levels already achieved elsewhere and boosting the use of renewables.
Davis said that under construction and existing nuclear power plants in the state will help reach the federal standards. “They will be allowed to count toward some of our compliance obligations.” The federal plan gives more credit to the plant under construction at VC Summer in Jenkinsville for meeting the standards.
Beyond energy efficiency, the conservation groups contend renewable power provides the second affordable building block for South Carolina’s energy future.